ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — After large protests in Annapolis and other parts of Anne Arundel County, the top health official is urging people who have participated to get tested for COVID-19.
“We definitely recommend waiting a few days after that event. Typically, it takes a few days if you have the virus for it to show up in testing—so waiting at least three days is our recommendation,” said Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Anne Arundel County Health Officer.READ MORE: 29-Year-Old Man Shot & Killed Overnight
While hospitalizations have been declining for almost two weeks straight statewide and testing has ramped up, health officials across Maryland are closely watching for any spike in cases after the days of demonstrations.
Research in The Lancet showed unmasked demonstrators are at a more than 17 percent higher risk of infection. Masked carries a much lower 3.1 percent extra risk.
Last week, Governor Hogan urged young people who have attended demonstrations to keep their distance from the elderly who are more at risk if infected.
“I wouldn’t be hugging grandma until you get that test,” Hogan said.
Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner also said she was monitoring for any possible spike in cases.READ MORE: M&T Bank Stadium To Open As COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site Today
The Centers for Disease Control and World Health organization have urged people to be cautious and keep their masks on if they demonstrate.
“We really want those people to highly consider getting evaluated and getting tested,“ said Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director.
But it’s not just protesters. As people emerge from lockdown and come in contact with others, doctors are looking for any change in the numbers.
“That’s why we collect the data.” Dr. Kalyanaraman said.
It could take weeks before trends emerge. Making things more difficult, cases are reported where the patient calls home, which is not necessarily where they contracted COVID-19. That makes expanded contract tracing essential.
“It’s really easy to get complacent when things are looking good, and that is our word of caution,“ Dr. Kalyanaraman said. “This virus is still with us.”MORE NEWS: 'Game-Changing' Johnson & Johnson Single-Dose Covid-19 Vaccine Meets Requirements For Emergency Use Authorization, FDA Says