Public health says protest attendees should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

GUELPH – The local public health unit is urging everyone who attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Guelph on June 6, to monitor themselves for 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19, and to go to an assessment centre if they start to show any.

In a statement issued the day before the protest, that drew a crowd of at least 2,000 and perhaps as many at 5,000, Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health urged attendees to be safe, to wear masks, to practice good hand hygiene, and to keep two metres from others.

She also called racism a pandemic and a barrier to health and well-being.

“Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health stands against anti-Black racism, systemic discrimination, and disenfranchisement. We believe in a community that works to eliminate the barriers that prevent everyone from the opportunity for health and well-being,” her statement reads.

And even though there was a provincial order to limit gatherings to five people (it has been raised to 10 here beginning June 12), “Balancing protest and public health in this unprecedented time is not easy… We support the right of people to gather in protest.”

However, “If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns you may have been exposed, please get tested right away,” she said.

The Mount Forest Assessment Centre is located at the Sportsplex at 850 Princess Street. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 6pm, closed from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Walk-ins are accepted but appointments are preferred. Call 519-323-0255 ext. 5082 to make an appointment.

The Guelph Assessment Centre is located at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre at 151 Victoria Rd. N. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and weekends from 9am to 4pm.

The Headwaters Assessment Centre is located at 140 Rolling Hills Drive via Highway 10 in Orangeville and is a drive-thru centre. It operates seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. The last car will be added to the line at 4:30pm.