MDH: 27 COVID-19 cases traced to Sturgis motorcycle rally, including 1 hospitalization

The Minnesota Department of Health says 27 cases can now be traced back to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota earlier this month.

Among those cases is one person who was hospitalized and released after three days. Two of the cases were employees or volunteers at the rally. 

Last week, health officials said 15 cases were connected to the rally. 

Health officials anticipate more cases tied to the rally which ran from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16.

 “Thousands of people attended that event and so it’s very likely that we will see more transmission," said Kris Ehresmann, of the Minnesota Department of Health. "Obviously it takes a while for people to develop symptoms and for people to get tests.”

The South Dakota Department of Transportation said 462,182 motorcyclists attended the rally this year, down from 499,654 in 2019.

The Minnesota Department of Health asked all attendees to voluntarily quarantine for 14 days after they return.

"Nobody likes to tell people they shouldn't go out and have fun and live their lives, but the hard truth is we are in a historic pandemic," said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm during the state’s coronavirus briefing on Aug. 7.

While some compare the outdoor gatherings at Sturgis to the large rallies held in Minneapolis following George Floyd's death, Malcolm says the state of the pandemic has changed since two months ago. Now, health officials are seeing a much greater degree of community transmission.

"The significant difference was much of the transmission was coming from known sources of outbreak, in congregate care settings or in workplace settings that yes, indeed did spread into the community, but the point of origin was a little more easy to identify," said Malcolm earlier this month.