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Protesters urged to get tested for COVID-19

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Saturday that drive-up coronavirus testing sites will expand to include people who are participating in demonstrations for racial and social justice.

The city revised its policy with Public Health - Seattle & King County to expand the criteria to those who are asymptomatic if they have attended a large gathering.

“Over the last week, residents across Seattle have been gathering to build community and share their anger and frustration about the killing of George Floyd and injustices against black Americans, here in Seattle and across the country," Durkan said." “While I believe everyone should exercise their right and speak out, we must also remember we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I have been hearing from community members who attended demonstrations over the past week about their concerns of COVID-19 exposure.”

"While public health guidelines reserve testing for those who have symptoms, or who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 illness, I recognize that many have put themselves at risk of exposure to make their voices heard, and this expanded criteria will ensure they can get tested at city test sites,” she said.

On Friday, the city opened one of two new citywide drive-up testing sites. It is located at 3820 6th Ave. South in the SoDo district.

Durkan visited the site Saturday and took a COVID-19 test. Recently, she met with community protest leaders and demonstrators outside of City Hall who demanded changes in law enforcement and other policies.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee also encouraged people with mild symptoms to get tested for the virus as the state broadens its testing strategy.

Previously, individuals with mild symptoms were encouraged to stay home, but Inslee said Thursday that testing supplies have increased to the point where testing can be expanded.