• Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

Coronavirus cases linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally found in 8 states

Coronavirus cases linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have been confirmed in South Dakota and at least seven other states.

The North Dakota Department of Health said in a tweet Monday that 17 people “who are connected to” the large rally have tested positive for the virus.

“Those who attended the rally should closely monitor for symptoms & get tested at a free ND testing site,” the agency said.

Other cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Washington state and South Dakota, where the 10-day rally was held. There have been about 103 total cases linked to the event.

A spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Health told NBC News Tuesday that they have found 40 cases of COVID-19 related to the event, including three-out-state cases.

One of those cases is a resident who visited One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon on Aug. 11, state health officials said in a press release.

Last week, a health official in neighboring Minnesota said that 15 people who attended the massive gathering and festival had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. One person who tested positive was hospitalized.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s infectious disease division director, Kris Ehresmann, said during a conference call with news outlets that 14 of the cases were attendees and one was a volunteer who worked “in a temporary bar situation.”

“We’re expecting that we’re going to see many more cases associated with Sturgis,” she said during the call. “Thousands of people attended that event, and so it’s very likely that we will see more transmission.”

In Nebraska, at least seven new cases have been linked to the rally, the Panhandle Public Health District said without providing further details. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The rally ran from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 in Sturgis, about 30 miles northwest of Rapid City, and drew attendees on more than 460,000 vehicles, the South Dakota Department of Transportation said. That was down nearly 8 percent from the roughly 500,000 vehicles at last year’s rally.

This year’s rally drew scrutiny after images and video appeared to show very few attendees wearing masks or observing social distancing. The lead singer for the band Smash Mouth came under fire for mocking the coronavirus pandemic while appearing on stage at the festival.

The Associated Press contributed.