LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As thousands of demonstrators continue to take to the streets throughout Southern California to protest police brutality after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, public health officials said people should take precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.
“Try to keep yourself as far away from other people when you’re out there protesting, do that six feet of distancing,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said. “And short of that, I don’t call it quarantine, it’s really stay at home, try to stay away from other people as much as possible and monitor yourself for signs and symptoms.”
And while Ferrer said demonstrators were likely to come in contact with someone carrying the novel coronavirus, she did not recommend people get tested right away.
“I want to just caution everybody about rushing to get a test,” she said. “One thing, for sure, is if I had an exposure today, going and getting testing today is likely to yield a negative result.”
Ferrer said that negative result could give people a false sense of security since the virus takes up to 14 days to infect a person after they have come into contact with it.
“The best thing to do is to stay out of circulation as much as possible to protect other people for the 14 days,” she said. “Even with no symptoms, we ask people [to limit] contact. That’s the whole name of the game.”
For those who live with people more vulnerable to contracting the illness, Ferrer recommended wearing a mask while at home in common areas and while in close contact with them for at least 14 days and to call a doctor and get tested if anyone develops symptoms.
“You’re going to have to wait the 14 days to really determine whether or not you’ve been infected,” she said. “And the safest thing to do is to not be circulating during that incubation period.”
Ferrer said she was not surprised by the growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the county following an easing of Safer at Home orders, but said it would take about three weeks before any spike could be attributed to ongoing demonstrations.