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ACC Commissioner and Organizer Mariah Parker Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Mariah Parker leads a protest on May 31 in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo by Sean Dunn.

Athens-Clarke County District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker, who co-organized and spoke at this past Sunday’s rally, announced yesterday through a Facebook post that she has tested positive for coronavirus. Currently asymptomatic but potentially infectious, she intends to follow CDC guidelines and self-isolate for two weeks. It stings to witness such a strong leader in the movement for police reform policy take a hit, and it is a stark reminder that everyone—even those who are young and in good health—are capable of carrying the virus. 

Unusual times call for unusual measures! For the sake of your own personal health, as well as the well-being of everyone who comes into proximity to you, take extra precautions while protesting during this pandemic. At a minimum, wear a face mask and eye protection, bring your own hand sanitizer and water, and attempt to maintain social distancing the best you can. Yelling increases the potential to spread droplets, so consider other forms of creating sound like drums and noisemakers. Read this very thorough Sanitation Protocol for Direct Action During COVID-19 that was adapted from QueerCare, and check out this solid piece from The Strategist that covers How to Protest Safely During a Pandemic.

Remember, we will not be able to immediately observe the impact of protesting on the increase of COVID-19 case numbers due to the disease’s incubation period and widespread delays in testing. If you fall into a high-risk category or experiencing any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell), sit this one out. There are many ways to productively support protests from remote locations. 

Free testing for COVID-19 is currently available to everyone, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. Residents without a doctor or primary care provider can visit an urgent care center, federally qualified health center, or contact one of the following organizations to book a testing appointment: 

Athens Neighborhood Health Center: 706-546-5526 (675 College Ave.) and 706-543-1145 (402 McKinley Dr.). Accepts both walk-ins and appointments. Available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m; Tuesdays from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–7 p.m.; and Fridays from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. The McKinley Drive location is also open on Saturdays from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. 

Northeast Health District Testing Hotline: 706-340-0996. Available weekdays from 8 a.m.–7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. 

Athens Free Clinic Mobile Unit: 706-308-4092. A good option for residents without transportation or who have barriers to care. Available weekdays from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 

Check out Mutual Aid Athens’ guide for more local Testing and Clinic Info, and the ACC government’s page for additional COVID-19/Coronavirus Information