March for Black Lives could bring uptick in COVID-19 cases

Local public health officials say there could be a slight increase in coronavirus cases following Sunday's March for Black Lives.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 7:10 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2020 7:11 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Sunday's March for Black Lives attracted an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people in one gathering. 

Lane County Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke said there could be an uptick in new COVID-19 cases because of it. 

"You were at an event where there were thousands of people," Luedtke said. "A few of them could've had the coronavirus infection. You may have been exposed to them, so monitor yourself. We've all had that annoying summertime cold. But they're much less common than in the cold and the winter, right? If you start to get cold and flu symptoms and start to feel terrible in five, six, seven days you should say, 'Hmm, I wonder if this is coronavirus.'"

As of Monday there are 77 coronavirus cases in Lane County. If there is a large increase in cases over the next few weeks, Luedtke said Lane County will be prepared. 


"The testing that's actually done in Lane County, we can't do thousands of cases," Luedtke said. "But we have 17 labs that are reporting to us. A large number of those samples will be sent to out-of-state laboratories. All of those labs together can get the testing done that we need to. But we really want more testing locally."

He also added contact tracing will be important to see the number of potential new cases that were related to the march.

Per Gov. Kate Brown's order, large-scale gatherings must be canceled or significantly modified through at least September. However, an outdoor event, such as the rally, wouldn't be a direct comparison to a sold-out indoor concert or basketball game. 

"Outdoor events we like the dilution factor. That's very helpful," Luedtke said. "They are very different. It would be a very different risk level 7,000 people marching outside and 7,000 people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder inside some sort of music venue or sports venue."

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