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15 Minnesotans who attended Sturgis test positive for COVID-19

The Minnesota Department of Health is asking anyone who attended the South Dakota motorcycle rally to self-quarantine for two weeks.

STURGIS, S.D. — State health officials say 15 Minnesotans who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota earlier this month have tested positive for COVID-19.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann shared details about the cases on a media briefing call Friday.

"We know that there were many more people from Minnesota who attended the event, and expect to see additional cases in the coming days," she said. "We also know that there were plenty of high-risk settings that could lead to COVID spread."

Ehresmann said anyone who went to Sturgis and is feeling ill should get tested and self-isolate. Even those who are not symptomatic are asked to stay home temporarily.

"If you did go to Sturgis it's best to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return," she said.

Ehresmann said one case was confirmed Thursday and the other 14 on Friday.

"Thousands of people attended that event and so it's very likely that we will see more transmission, and obviously it takes a while for people to develop symptoms and get tested and for us to get those results," Ehresmann said.

One of the 15 people is hospitalized in Minnesota, according to Ehresmann. 

One was a volunteer or temporary employee at a Sturgis bar that hosted events, and 14 were attendees. The cases were tied to multiple campgrounds and establishments in Sturgis - not one single cluster.

"It sounds like these individuals were attending multiple different events, bars, while they were there," Ehresmann said.

The annual rally, which likely drew about 250,000 people over 10 days Aug. 7-16, was one of the largest events to move forward as scheduled since the pandemic began.

South Dakota health officials warned Thursday that several Sturgis attendees have tested positive for COVID-19. They said the number at that time was under 25, but that they were hearing reports from other states as well.


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