People Testing Positive For COVID-19 After Attending Protests In Houston

( What many have feared seems to be coming true in Houston.

After attending police reform protests in Houston in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, local residents are being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Overall, Texas has experienced a recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, and Harris County, which includes Houston, has been at the center of it all. While it can sometimes be difficult to definitively connect new COVID-19 cases to any one event, there has been recent proof that this has happened in Houston.

Since June 6, at least 23 Houston police officers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a Houston Chronicle report. One resident, Shamone Turner, told a local TV station that she tested positive for coronavirus after attending a march to City Hall in Houston along with roughly 60,000 other people. She also said several of her friends who went with her have tested positive.

But Turner told KRIV that she doesn’t regret her decision, saying:

“I actually got sick the day after the march … I could not move out of the bed. I was in the bed just sighing. I definitely don’t regret getting COVID, because I was out there doing the right thing for the right cause.”

As the protests have continued on, Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, has encouraged people to maintain social distancing as much as possible while practicing good hygiene and wearing face masks if they attend large gatherings. He also urged people who attend protests to get tested for coronavirus so they can catch it early on and reduce the spread.

At a press briefing on Monday, Turner said:

“[I am] encouraging people who have been out in the general public … participated in marches, demonstrations, protests … go and be tested. Numbers continue to go up every day.”

Turner also said, though, that he doesn’t believe the marches and protests are the sole reason for the uptick in coronavirus cases in the region or the state. In a statement, Turner’s communications director, Mary Benton, told Newsweek:

“The state’s governor started aggressively reopening businesses prior to the march and people packed into restaurants, bars, pool parties and other events despite the occupancy limits and with little or no social distancing or the use of face masks. Mayor Turner has consistently encouraged people to practice the recommended social distancing, good hygiene and the wearing of face masks.

“Because he marched, went to the memorial and funeral, Mayor Turner took his second COVID-19 test which was negative and encourages everyone to get tested.”

There were 1,254 confirmed coronavirus cases on June 15, making it 13 of 15 days in the month that there were at least 1,000 cases in the state. Overall, Texas has 87,854 confirmed cases, with 1,976 deaths. The state now has the sixth-most confirmed cases in the country.

Harris County ranks at the top of the breakdown, with 16,778 cases and 275 deaths. Dallas County is next with 14,232 cases and 284 deaths.