B.C.'s provincial health officer says that anyone who attends protests against racism and police violence needs to do their part to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.
During her daily briefing on Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry offered words of thanks to those who wore masks and maintained a physical distance from others while attending a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend.
"I encourage anyone who might be demonstrating to also please continue to keep that safe distance, to recognize the importance of making sure that we are not allowing this virus a chance to spread," Henry said.
"Your message can still be heard, no matter how far apart you stand."
An estimated 3,500 people gathered in Vancouver on Sunday in a protest sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black Toronto woman who fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment while police were in the home.
Henry said that attending any sort of large public gathering comes with a risk of spreading COVID-19.
"Those who were there yesterday, you may have put yourself at risk and you may bring that back to your home. So you need to monitor yourself carefully over the next couple days to two weeks," Henry said.
Anyone who shows symptoms of infection with the novel coronavirus should self-isolate and get tested to make sure they're not spreading the disease.
Watch: Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses Vancouver protests
As protests continue around the world, Henry urged British Columbians to weigh the risks in their own lives before participating.
People who work in health care or who live with vulnerable or elderly people need to be particularly careful, she said.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said that public protest is a vital part of life in a democracy but suggested that organizers should consider virtual demonstrations or other alternatives in the future.
"We have to collectively use our imagination," Dix said.