Health Officers Warn of COVID-19 Spread Midst Growing Rally Attendance

By Mallorie Rast

Provincial officials face more than protesting crowds this week, as growing rally attendance in Regina with the possibility of other rallies in the province leave health officers fretting over the increased risk of spreading COVID-19.

In response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter rallies have been taking place at the Legislative Building since June 1. In a government press release on June 3, Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab warned the public that large public gatherings increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“While peaceful public protests are a part of our democracy, please be aware of the elevated risk to yourself and your loved ones, particularly those in your extended household who may be more vulnerable.”

Even though Saskatchewan’s COVID curve has been on the downward angle since mid-April, Shahab cautions that as many as 40 percent of persons who are capable of being infectious with COVID 19 may have no or very mild symptoms. These individuals put the general public at greater risk as they can unwittingly transmit the virus to others.

Shahab’s public statement went on to note that current public health orders state that no more than 10 people are to gather together for any reason. Guidelines are to widen on June 8, allowing groups of 30 to meet together, but still enforcing the two meter social distancing.

“Organizers are encouraged to have gatherings done in vehicles. If groups are wanting to congregate or march on foot, they are advised to keep a distance of two metres or more between each person at all times.”

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