Worried about possible COVID-19 exposure after protesting? Here's when you should get tested

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Pictures of people marching side by side are worrying governors in different parts of the county amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Many of them wear masks, thank God. But there's no social distancing," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

DOCTOR'S NOTE: How to safely protest during a pandemic

Gov. Cuomo is recommending that all protesters get tested. More centers are opening in the city. "If you were at one of those protests, I would out of an abundance of caution assume that you are infected."

That's what one unidentified protester in San Francisco did on Friday. "Because I want to see my family next week and have that peace of mind."

If you were marching on Thursday, for example, when should you get tested? The medical community says don't do it the day after protesting because it takes a few days for the virus to replicate and build up in your body.

TESTING CENTER LIST: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area?

"On the third or fourth day, if you feel like you've been exposed, you weren't able to physically distance, it's OK to go ahead and try to get a test. I would wait a few days before getting one because you don't want to get a false negative," said Dr. Alok Patel.

City Test SF has two testing sites - one along the Embarcadero and the other in the South of Market area. The testing is free but you need to make an appointment online.

A new test center has been opened on Adeline Street in West Oakland. "Easy peasy," said Mayor Libby Schaaf. "You go online, you get an appointment right way, you drive up, they stick a Q-tip up your nose, you drive off and get your test results a couple days later."

With all the protesters, cities face another challenge: contact tracing. City officials say it is nearly impossible to contact the thousands of people at protest.

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