Anti-racism rally had no impact on COVID-19 caseload: MOH

Anti-racism demonstrators march south on Front Street on June 13. Photo courtesy, Nadine Wark

Troy Shantz

A large anti-racism rally in downtown Sarnia did not produce a surge in COVID-19 cases as some feared and that’s an encouraging sign, says Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health.

“I don’t believe we’ve identified any cases whose exposure may have come from that setting,” Dr. Sudit Ranade said Monday. “That’s very reassuring.”

More than 500 people gathered at City Hall on June 13 to protest anti-black and anti-Indigenous racism, then marched in a peaceful demonstration through the core area.

Ranade applauded its organizers and participants, who to a large extent wore face coverings and maintained physical distancing.

“I think it also speaks to the idea that properly planned and organized things may be able move forward later in the summer, as long as we can get a handle on infections in terms of the other ways that it’s transmitted,” he said.

The Sarnia rally, like those across the world, was sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25.

As of this morning, Sarnia-Lambton had gone nine straight days no new confirmed cases of the virus.

Lambton Public Health is closely monitoring the situation to see whether beginning Stage 2 of reopening on June 19 will add to the caseload, Ranade said.

It currently takes about three days to receive test results.