SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While CDC guidelines discourage mass gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19, they are happening.
We've seen packed beaches, a return of business and a large protest in downtown Savannah on Sunday night.
Leaders at the Coastal Health District say they are bracing for how this might impact our local cases of coronavirus.
"We are holding our breath and cautiously watching anytime they are large gatherings of people,” Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis said.
After two busy weekends of packed beaches and a full downtown, leaders say they will be watching the data closely. Health leaders says large gatherings can be super-spreader events where one person passes the virus to several others in a short amount of time. They say it can take up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear while most happen sooner while some are asymptomatic.
Dr. Davis said it could take 10-21 days for us to see the results of the crowds from the past few weekends.
A look at the rolling average of new COVID-19 cases shows there was an increase, but Dr. Davis said that's likely from a backlog of tests and pop-up testing across the district. He has concerns about what will happen to these numbers in the future.
"I'm concerned whenever there is a you know large gathering of people and many people are not wearing their facemasks and or practicing social distancing. It was outside rather than inside so that would be maybe somewhat protective but again we'll just have to watch and see what the data shows us,” Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis said the Coastal Health District will continue daily testing, case investigations and contact tracing for COVID-19. He encourages you to make socially responsible decisions like wearing a mask, socially distance yourself and wash your hands.