Officials: Some Who Went to Sturgis Rally Have COVID-19
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota health officials warned Thursday that a number of people who attended the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this month, including some who came from out of state, have come down with COVID-19.
Department of Health officials did not give an exact number of rallygoers who tested positive, but they said it was under 25.
South Dakota state epidemiologist Josh Clayton said that health department has received reports from other states that people who traveled from the rally have tested positive.
Minnesota health officials said Friday that 15 Minnesota residents contracted the coronavirus after being exposed during the rally, and they expected the number to grow.
The rally, which ended Sunday, brought hundreds of thousands of people from far and wide to the city in the western part of the state. Even before it started, some locals and officials expressed concern that COVID-19 could spread rapidly at the rally and that it would be hard to track rallygoers who got infected before heading home.
The health department has issued public warnings for two bars — one in Sturgis and the other at a popular stop for riders along U.S. Highway 385 near Mount Rushmore. Clayton said they did not know how many people were exposed at the bars.
Sturgis is planning to conduct mass testing of its residents next week in an attempt to stem a possible outbreak of infections from the rally.
The rally news comes amid an increase in the COVID-19 infection rate in South Dakota. Health officials reported Thursday that there were 125 new confirmed cases of the disease and two new deaths. Over the past two weeks, the average number of daily new cases has increased by 32, which is an increase of about 43%.
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