British Columbia

Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms if you attended Vancouver protest, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C.'s provincial health officer says that anyone who attends protests against racism and police violence needs to do their part to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer thanks those who wore masks and kept a physical distance at Sunday rally

An estimated 3,500 people gathered in Vancouver in a protest sparked by the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

B.C.'s provincial health officer says that anyone who attends protests against racism and police violence needs to do their part to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.

During her daily briefing on Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry offered words of thanks to those who wore masks and maintained a physical distance from others while attending a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend.

"I encourage anyone who might be demonstrating to also please continue to keep that safe distance, to recognize the importance of making sure that we are not allowing this virus a chance to spread," Henry said.

"Your message can still be heard, no matter how far apart you stand."

An estimated 3,500 people gathered in Vancouver on Sunday in a protest sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black Toronto woman who fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment while police were in the home.

Henry said that attending any sort of large public gathering comes with a risk of spreading COVID-19.

"Those who were there yesterday, you may have put yourself at risk and you may bring that back to your home. So you need to monitor yourself carefully over the next couple days to two weeks," Henry said.

Anyone who shows symptoms of infection with the novel coronavirus should self-isolate and get tested to make sure they're not spreading the disease.

Watch: Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses Vancouver protests

B.C.'s provincial health officer says those at demonstrations might be at increased risk. 'We cannot forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic.' 1:52

As protests continue around the world, Henry urged British Columbians to weigh the risks in their own lives before participating.

People who work in health care or who live with vulnerable or elderly people need to be particularly careful, she said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that public protest is a vital part of life in a democracy but suggested that organizers should consider virtual demonstrations or other alternatives in the future.

"We have to collectively use our imagination," Dix said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now