Community members have been participating in peaceful demonstrations in Manhattan in response to the death of George Floyd and systemic racism that exists in our country.
For people who have attended protests or large gatherings, we’re sharing some answers to questions relating to the spread of COVID-19. Please reach out if you have any additional questions.
Q: If people chose to attend a protest, are there steps to take to help lower the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our community?
A: Outdoor gatherings are lower risk than indoor gatherings. The larger the gathering, and the longer you’re there, the higher the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
People who have been at group gatherings should monitor their health for 14 days afterwards. Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested right away, whether they’ve been at a protest or not.
Remember that physical distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 are not all-or-nothing – even if you attended large group gatherings, it’s just as important that you continue to stay home whenever possible, remain at least 6 feet away from others and wear a face covering when in public, wash your hands, and avoid touching your face.
Q: Do people who have attended protests need to get tested for COVID-19?
A: If you currently don’t have any symptoms, you do not need to get tested right now. However, if you develop even mild symptoms such as a cough, congestion or runny nose, you should contact your health provider to help evaluate symptoms and need for testing.
Anyone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 should also be tested.
If you’re having trouble accessing COVID-19 testing, or have other medical questions related to COVID-19, call the Riley County Screening Line at 785-323-6400.
Q: During protests, what should I consider about how to protect myself and our community?
- Do not attend any gatherings or protests if you are ill or have symptoms of COVID-19. Please remember that COVID-19 can spread from people who do not have symptoms as well as from those who do.
- Wear a cloth mask or face covering. This helps protects those around you, and others wear face coverings to help protect you.
- Stay 6 feet or more away from others.
- Carry hand sanitizer and use it often.
- Avoid touching objects and surfaces that others have touched.
- Increase your distance in situations where people are shouting or singing, as these activities can spread more virus into the air.
Q: What are the ways to reduce risk of exposure when traveling to an event?
A: If you decide to attend a protest, walking, biking, or driving alone in a personal vehicle are the best travel options to reduce risk of COVID-19.
However, these options are not available to everyone. If you need to drive multiple people in a private vehicle, here are tips to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Tips for ride sharing
- Ensure everyone in the car wears a mask.
- Limit the number of people in the car to as few as possible.
- Maintain distance between people as much as possible. Ask passengers to sit in the back to create physical distance.
- Keep tissues and hand sanitizer in your car.
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve.
- Increase airflow by putting the windows down.
- Do not recirculate air.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces before and after the trip, especially if you borrowed the car or are giving someone a lift. Play close attention to surfaces that are touched often by passengers, such as door handles, arm rests, steering wheels, gear shifters, commonly-used buttons, and seatbelts.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
If you’re using public transportation, remember to wear a face covering, enter through the back door, maintain 6-feet of distance between yourself and other passengers, and reserve the front for passengers in need of priority seating.