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VDH urges protesters to protect themselves from COVID-19

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) wants to ensure that all Virginians, including those participating in ongoing protests, know how to access publicly-available COVID-19 tests.

The nature of large protests means the virus may spread more easily there, especially if protesters are not wearing masks said a press release. VDH has communicated with local health districts where protests have occurred and encouraged them to share information with protesters about community testing events and pharmacy locations where COVID-19 tests are available.

Individuals who have attended protests may be at higher risk of infection of COVID-19, said the release. VDH suggests protesters wear masks, wash hands frequently, stay six feet apart from others in crowds, and, if symptoms appear, stay home and call their health care provider.

All Virginians may get tested if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 or if they believe they have been exposed to others with infections, said the release.

“We support the right to protest, and we also want people to be safe” said Virginia State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver. “People can have COVID-19 and not show symptoms or have only mild symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus to others. For some people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, the virus can be life-threatening. We urge people who have symptoms such as fever and cough to stay home and to get tested.”

VDH encourages individuals to talk with their health care provider if they have questions. VDH will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak while supporting Virginians’ right to engage in civic action.

Access VDH’s online symptom checker, CovidCheck at

Find publicly-available tests at