‘It feels weaponized’: Woman worried about COVID-19 after being spat on in Vancouver’s Gastown

A B.C. woman is speaking out after a man allegedly spit on her in Gastown on Tuesday. Global News

A Vancouver woman fears she’s at risk of contracting COVID-19 after she says a man spat on her in Gastown on Tuesday.

She was walking near Water and Cambie streets when she said the stranger approached her and spat on her without warning.

“A man ran up to me, right into my face, and called me a b–ch,” she told Global News.

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“I didn’t have time to think, I was just really shocked, worried, confused.”

She said her mom snapped a photo of the man, and they were able to flag down Vancouver police.

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Investigators located the man a few blocks away.

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“The suspect male was arrested a few blocks away for assault,” police said in a statement.

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“The male was released on an undertaking to attend court at a later date. The male suspect was not tested for COVID-19.”

It’s that last point that has the woman worried.

“Certainly spitting on somebody anytime isn’t pleasant, but currently it’s a different situation. It feels weaponized, it feels dangerous,” she said.

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“I’m angry about whether I have to worry if he was sick, whether he had COVID and was trying to spread it on purpose. My mom is immunocompromised; I’m worried about her health.”

She said police told her the suspect has been arrested in the past for spitting on someone.

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She plans on getting tested for COVID-19, and says she wants the man to agree to a test as well.

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The registered clinical counsellor who works in Gastown said the incident is a reflection of growing safety concerns in the neighbourhood.

The area has always been “colourful,” but she said she feels that it has been neglected recently and the atmosphere has changed since the pandemic began.

— With files from Catherine Urquhart

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