INDIANAPOLIS — "We want to keep all Hoosiers safe and healthy and ensure that we keep COVID-19 under control so that as a state we can move safely to Stage Four and on to Stage Five," said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.
But the downtown protests, which were in their eighth day Friday and are expected to continue over the weekend, present health issues when it comes to the virus. "We recognize that protests by nature are acts of unity and often it is difficult to socially distance under those circumstance at these events," said Box at a Friday news conference.
Among the thousands who have been coming downtown, some are wearing masks while many aren't.
For that reason, the state and Marion County have teamed up to offer COVID-19 testing Saturday near the Statehouse, in the parking lot at Ohio and Capitol, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing will be extended into Sunday if there appears to be enough demand. There is no charge.
If there is an increase in COVID-19 cases because of the protests, we may know soon. "This is the eighth day of protests and based on what we know about COVID infections, this is the time frame when we would expect to see some increased level of infection because of that close contact," said the commissioner.
And Box said protesters in other areas of the state should also consider being tested for the virus.