Minnesota now at 35 COVID-19 cases connected to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The number is up eight from the day prior.
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At least 35 Minnesota residents who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota are believed to have been infected with COVID-19 while there. 

The 35 cases represents an increase of eight from the 27 cases that were reported Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Two of the 35 laboratory-confirmed test results were people who were employed or volunteering at Sturgis, while the 33 others were attendees. 

Two of the 35 cases are people from the same household. 

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 attendees are still within COVID-19 incubation period, which can be as long as two weeks, according to the CDC. 

Jeremy Fugleberg, regional health correspondent for Forum News Service, reported Tuesday on Twitter that at least 103 new cases are connected to Sturgis, including 37 in South Dakota, 17 in North Dakota, 7 in Nebraska and Wyoming, 5 in Montana, 2 in Wisconsin and 1 in Washington. 

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 festival 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."

On Monday, the MDH confirmed that 243 COVID-19 cases in Minnesota have been linked to the protests that followed George Floyd's death at the end of May, which saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets over a period of several days. 

Attendees advised to quarantine, get tested

For those that did attend the South Dakota festival, Malcolm is urging them to avoid long contacts in close quarters and be thoughtful that "when they come home it's not just the risk to yourself but the ability to spread the virus to other people at higher risk."

She also advised that attendees quarantine upon returning to Minnesota, and get tested for COCVID five to seven days later – even if symptoms aren't present. 

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