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COVID-positive Minnesotan dies after attending Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The person had been hospitalized in the ICU.

A Minnesotan is believed to be the first confirmed death of a COVID-19-positive patient linked to last month's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. 

"We can confirm a death in a COVID-positive Minnesota patient who had attended Sturgis. The person was in their 60s and had been hospitalized and in the ICU," MDH spokesperson Doug Schultz told Bring Me The News. 

The patient also had underlying health conditions, MDH said. 

How the person contracted the virus has not been made clear, with health officials only saying the individual attended the motorcycle festival. More information about the patient is expected to be released Wednesday afternoon. 

There have been 50 Minnesota patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to attending Sturgis. 

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm previously stated that she was disappointed the festival wasn't postponed due to the size of the crowds amid a pandemic.

"Disappointing that the decision was made to go ahead with the event at a time when South Dakota has seen a significant upsurge in cases," Malcolm said two days before the rally began.

"We know this draws people from many states so there are people coming into the event from high-incidence states. It's a pretty ripe environment for further spread and folks bringing the virus back to their home communities."

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It's unclear how many people who attended the motorcycle rally have been tested in Minnesota because contact tracing is typically only done after an individual has tested positive, though it should be noted that the event only ended Aug. 16 so those who attended are just now clear of the CDC's 2- to 14-day incubation period of the virus. 

In May and June, there were 243 COVID-19 cases connected to the protests in the Twin Cities that followed the death of George Floyd. There have not been any COVID-19 deaths from the protests. 

MDH told BMTN last month that it was easier to track cases connected to the protests as it ran a series of free testing events in the Twin Cities specifically aimed at those who took part, which saw more than 13,000 people tested.

With Sturgis attendees coming from a wider area of the state, it's more difficult to determine the extent of COVID-19 exposures relating, with MDH not having any data on how many Minnesotans who were at the festival have been tested for the virus, only those who tested positive.

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