People Attending Protests Urged to Get COVID-19 Test

CHARLOTTE, NC – North Carolina state and local leaders urging people who may have taken part in a protest or mass gathering to get tested for COVID-19. 

The increased push comes as nearly 300 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County on Thursday. 

“I just wanted to make sure that i’m still participating even though there is still a pandemic,” said Autumn Alston. 

Alston has spent five nights on the streets marching with protesters. She wears a mask and tries to keep distance. 

“I’m always concerned. Especially because I live with my mother who is pretty high risk,” said Alston.

Earlier this week, state health officials expanded their guidance for who could be tested to include people who aren’t showing symptoms. 

“Anyone who’s attended a mass gathering, including a protest, should get tested,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the North Carolina State Health Director. 

Alston says there is still confusion among protesters about where and when they can go. 

“What’s that time frame for when you should get tested? Should you wait a week? Should you wait two weeks from your last protest? I think there is some confusion with that,” said Alston.

Mecklenburg county health officials tweeting today that asymptomatic protesters getting screened for testing.. must answer “yes” when asked if they’ve been prioritized by the health department for testing. 

The push to increase testing comes as there are some positive signs that being outdoors may lower risk of transmission. 

“You’ve got airflow, you’ve got breezes. You’re not typically right in the same spot the whole time,” said Dr. William Lang. 

He is the current medical director at WorldClinic and the former White House medical director. He says people should still wear masks, but that studies out of China show mass transmission isn’t as likely outdoors. 

“But the fact that it’s outside makes me hopeful that we’re not going to see big increases,” said Dr. Lang.