VDH urging caution during protests amid coronavirus pandemic

Masks, social distancing are advised during protests

Demonstrators march to protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 4, 2020 in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. – As protests continue across Virginia, the state’s department of health is concerned about the health of those out protesting.

During these large protests, the coronavirus can spread more easily, especially if protesters are not wearing masks, according to VDH.

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Those who have attended protests may be at higher risk of contracting the virus.

VDH is advising protesters to wear masks, wash hands frequently, stay six feet apart from others in crowds and, if symptoms appear, stay home and call their health care provider.

“We support the right to protest, and we also want people to be safe. People can have COVID-19 and not show symptoms or have only mild symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus to others. For some people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, the virus can be life-threatening. We urge people who have symptoms such as fever and cough to stay home and to get tested,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver.

The health department said it will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak while supporting Virginians’ right to engage in civic action.