VDH encourages localities with protests to publicize information about COVID-19 testing


In this March 17, 2020, file photo, Laurie Kuypers, a registered nurse, reaches into a car to take a nasopharyngeal swab from a patient at a drive-through COVID-19 coronavirus testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health is encouraging communities that have had protests recently to publicize information about public COVID-19 testing.

“The nature of large protests means the virus may spread more easily there, especially if protesters are not wearing masks. VDH has communicated with Local Health Districts where protests have occurred,” the state health department wrote in a news release.

Local health districts have been encouraged to share information with the public about testing events and pharmacies where the tests for COVID-19 are available.

The VDH says people who attended protests may have higher risk of getting COVID-19. The health department says protesters should wear masks, stay 6 feet apart 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 M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A.

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