The anti-racism march held on June 5 did not cause a spike in Ottawa’s COVID-19 cases. That’s the message coming from the city’s medical officer of health this week. In fact, the top doctor says she’s not aware of any cases at all that are directly linked to the protest.
Speaking on Wednesday, June 25, Ottawa’s medical officer of health addressed concerns that the city’s anti-racism march earlier this month could have caused a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Vera Etches told reporters that at this time, no known cases have been linked to the demonstration, which took place on June 5.
"I'm not aware of any cases that have been determined to have occurred because of the event," the doctor confirmed, per CTV News.
Health experts previously said it would take around two weeks for any cases linked to the event to appear.
However, Ottawa’s COVID-19 numbers have remained in single digits since June 19, which would have been 14 days post-protest.
The capital city even reported zero new cases of COVID-19 on June 17, a sure sign that the national capital region is making positive progress as it begins a phased reopening.
This latest update from Etches will be welcome news for those concerned about the spread of COVID-19 during the march.
Approximately 20,000 people are believed to have attended the protest, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
At the time, some people were worried about the impact such large crowds could have on the city’s COVID-19 cases, although many demonstrators were wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.
Prior to the event, Ottawa Public Health issued an advisory for demonstrators, with advice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in crowded places.
Tips included wearing a mask at all times, washing your clothes as soon as you get home, and using signs and placards rather than shouting.
Locals took to the streets on June 5 to protest anti-Black racism and police impunity, following a number of events that occurred across Canada and the United States.
Protesters carried signs with statements like, “I can’t breathe,” drawing attention to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of U.S. police officers.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.