Person who attended Saturday’s      protest tested positive for COVID-19

Protesters at the Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Parsons march toward the Parsons Police Department Saturday. The Labette County Health Department said that one of the protest’s estimated 800 attendees was among the four new cases of COVID-19 announced on Monday.


One of the attendees of Saturday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Parsons, which had an estimated 800 participants, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Labette County Health Department.

The Health Department announced Monday that four Labette County residents tested positive for the coronavirus, over a month since the last confirmed case in the county and just weeks removed from the county commission releasing all COVID-19 restrictions. The positive cases involved an 82-year-old man, a 50-year-old man and two girls, one 12, one 16. All four are part of a family. The girls do not attend Labette County schools.

Lisa Stivers, the Health Department administrator, said the person who attended Saturday’s protest was tested for COVID-19 Sunday and the test came back positive. The person did not know about the illness at the time of the protest, Stivers said.

“Since there were almost 800 people there I would assume this person was in close contact with a number of people,” Stivers told the Sun. “However, this person has stated that a mask was worn at all times. This person traveled to the protest with friends and those are in quarantine, but (the person) did not know others at the protest to give names.”

Stivers said the person did not show symptoms. The World Health Organization said on Monday that the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic persons was “very rare” but walked back that statement on Tuesday, saying there is still much unknown about the virus. 

The Health Department said in a statement released on social media that exposure to others was minimal Saturday given that the person wore a mask and that the protest was held outdoors. 

Many who attended the Black Lives Matter protest wore masks and volunteers also passed out masks to attendees. But many also went without masks during the protest.

In the online statement, the Health Department asked those who attended the protest to contact their primary health care provider if they exhibit any symptoms within 14 days of Saturday.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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