Philly Health Officials to Protesters: Get Tested for COVID-19

City health officials said protesters should get a coronavirus test seven days after they attend a protest, even if they wore a mask

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Protests and civil unrest taking place in Philadelphia over the past few days is happening in parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while city officials support the right to demonstrate, they're worried a lack of social distancing among thousands of people will cause a spike in coronavirus cases.

Philadelphia has been shut down since March to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city, along with its surrounding counties, is on track to move to to the "yellow phase" of reopening on Friday.

The city's health department on Tuesday asked anyone involved in protests to take precautions like getting tested for the virus even if they wore a mask.

"Because of the large number of people that have participated in protest activities in Philadelphia, the Health Department believes that there may be an increased likelihood that participants may have been exposed to COVID-19," the department said in a news release on Tuesday.

Health officials ask that protesters monitor their symptoms for fever, cough or shortness of breath for 14 days, limit exposure to others for the same time period, wear a face mask and stay six feet away while around others and get a COVID-19 test seven days after attending a protest.

Officials say protest participants can visit any testing site and simply say they came in contact someone who took part in a protest, to preserve their anonymity.

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