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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Summit County Health Commissioner Concerned About Coronavirus Spread During Protests

a photo of protesters in Akron
Health commissioner Donna Skoda encourages protesters, like these in Akron last Saturday, to wear masks and protect themselves with good hand hygiene and other safety precautions.

Officials with the Summit County Public Health Department say – when it comes to protests – they’re concerned about it leading to community spread of coronavirus.

Northeast Ohio communities have seen a number of protests following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says protesting is their right, but she asks that it be done safely.

Skoda on protesting amid coronavirus

“Any time you have large groups of folks together who may be yelling, shouting, or singing – there are some activities that actually increase the spread.  So we’re asking everyone to feel free to protest – I mean, it’s your Constitutional right – but we really ask that you think about protecting yourself.”

Skoda says social distancing and wearing masks are key for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and not just for protesters.  Skoda says her department has also been getting complaints from businesses about masks.  Specifically, that customers who interface with employees are not wearing masks.  Or that customers are wearing them and pulling them down while speaking.  To be effective, the mask should cover the mouth and nose.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. While a Kent State student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.