WATCH: Dr. O’Dell with Roanoke City, Alleghany Health Districts discusses local COVID-19 response amid protests


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — While new data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) shows a significant drop in the total number of COVID-19 cases around the Commonwealth, this weekend’s large protests have lead to fears of a resurgence of the virus.

VDH’s tally on Monday, June 1 reported 791 new coronavirus cases across Virginia, which is a lower increase than other days in the last week, during which health officials reported more than 1,000 new cases each day.

However, with large numbers of Virginians gathering over the past few days to protest the death of George Floyd — as well as other black Americans — at the hands of police officers, health officials say cases resulting from those demonstrations are not likely to surface for about two weeks.

WFXR News reached out to Dr. Molly O’Dell, the director of communicable disease control for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, about VDH’s concerns regarding potential COVID-19 spread following the numerous large gatherings this weekend.

According to Dr. O’Dell, “protests without the use of social distancing and face covering is another form of gathering where outbreaks can occur. Parties are another form. Individuals who choose not to social distance put themselves and others at risk of disease. Not adhering to the guidance is a big reason why our cases are not going down.”

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