Sean Owsley, anchor of “The 6:30” on KHQ, tweeted Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19.
“I feel pretty good and that’s why I’m anchoring from home for the two week quarantine,” Owsley said in his tweet.
KHQ now has three confirmed cases of the disease, and other employees have tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody, said Patricia McRae, general manager at KHQ.
Of the three currently infected, two felt sick, while Owsley feels fine, McRae said.
KHQ was down to 10% of its normal workforce in the building during Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, before inching up to about 30% of the workforce working in the building. Now, the outlet will return to its Phase 1 operations, McRae said.
The Cowles Co. owns both KHQ and The Spokesman-Review.
KHQ will maintain its social-distancing protocols through at least early September, McRae said. At that point, the station will reevaluate procedures based on community spread in Spokane.
“We feel a responsibility to our workforce,” McRae said.
For other employers, McRae said being transparent is important.
“I basically said to our staff, ‘This is nobody’s fault,’” McRae said. “We didn’t want to shame anybody. It could happen to anyone, and it’s a scary time. It’s not their fault – it’s out there.”
KHQ had social distancing procedures ready in case they received positive test results at the station, so it will be a simple transition, McRae said.
McRae sees more young people contracting the virus than in the beginning of the pandemic. She said she’d emphasize to young people that wanting to get out of the house is understandable, but no one is immune.
“So many are scared or anxious right now,” Owsley tweeted in the same hour he announced his positive test. “Know we are all in it with each other as human beings. Kindness is truly critical. See you tonight at 6:30.”
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.