Health department finds no link between COVID-19 cases and protests so far

Michigan

(UPDATE 3:45 p.m.)– Thousands of people have protested at the Capitol this year: demanding the state reopen, an end to police brutality and even demanding to give haircuts on the lawn.

But the Ingham County Health Officer says there’s no evidence of a spike linked to any protest.

“You go back to the protests which started as early as late April,” Linda Vail says, “and never did we see an upswing in cases related to those protests.”

Investigators trace where each COVID-positive person has been and who they’ve been in contact with during a certain amount of time. Vail says it’s no different with protests.

“If you’re there, you’re with other people that you know perhaps. And then we get ahold of those people,” she says.

If a protester does test positive, the health department looks at the number of cases they can confirm and trace so they can properly inform the public.

“You’ve got one person that was there and tested positive that may or may not have resulted in any additional exposures,” Vail says. “But if you start to find a group of people at some sort of organized event, then we do know there’s been an exposure. And then we do have public notification.”

The health department can’t put a limit on how many people exercise their right to protest at one time, in one place. Vail says it’s the governor’s call. But as a health officer, she urges everyone participating to keep wearing masks and using hand sanitizer, and to stay home if they feel sick.

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– As health officials continue to track COVID-19 cases statewide, the Ingham County Health Department says they have not seen a link between cases of the virus and protests in recent months.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says her department, which covers the state Capitol, has not seen any increased trends related to protests. The Capitol has been the site of multiple protests since the spring.

6 News will have a full report tonight with details about how the cases are tracked, on air and online.

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