▶️ Health officials worry as large crowds gather for protests

A crowd of more than 700 gathered in Bend on Saturday.

More than 1,000 showed up on Tuesday.

Young and old. Shoulder to shoulder. Standing together in protest.

And while it was outside and many in the throngs of people rallying against police violence were wearing masks, health officials say large gatherings like that still pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

“I can’t predict the future, but we know that with multi-household gatherings if people aren’t taking proper precautions, can have the potential for increased spread of COVID-19,” said Morgan Emerson with Deschutes County Public Health.

Emerson said the county public health department isn’t responsible for enforcing rules during a gathering, continued education is important.

And as Central Oregon counties apply for Phase 2 of reopening, Emerson says, it’s more important than ever to follow public health measures.

“I know that for a lot of us this is message fatigue, and we’ve heard these messages time and again,” Emerson said. “But in the absence of a vaccine or reliable treatment, this is our best solution to lean into our new normal but also protect the public’s health.”



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