City officials in Dallas have declared protesters a high-risk population, and are particularly susceptible for coronavirus infections. Due to this new status, protesters now qualify for federally subsidized coronavirus tests.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the city will open up a pop-up testing location for those who have participated in civil rights protests over the past 10 days. The site will be near the American Airlines Center and is expected to open Wednesday.
The pop-up location will be run by the Parkland Health and Hospital System, as well as the city of Dallas. Since protesters are now designated a high-risk group, any person regardless of age, occupation or symptoms is eligible for testing.
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This comes as public health officials voice concerns of an increase in coronavirus cases as some states begin reopening and stabilizing community spread. Protests in major metropolitan areas were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 when a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s cries for air during an arrest. Amid calls for major reforms to police departments in the U.S., protesters have been packed in crowds, directly contradicting the social distancing mandates set forth by many state governments.
While many protesters have worn masks throughout the marches, officials say they are still susceptible to infection.
As a state, Texas has seen increases in new coronavirus cases. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was one of the first governors to ease social distancing orders, beginning on April 30. By May 18, hair salons, bars and office spaces were permitted to reopen at limited capacities.
Per data from the Texas Department of Health, Dallas County has the second most confirmed coronavirus cases, reporting 12,093, following Harris County with 14,586.
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