The state’s health department said that the first known Covid-19 death came from last month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Minnesota.
“The person was in their 60s and had been hospitalized and in the ICU (intensive care unit),” Minnesota health department spokesman Doug Schultz said. He added that the patient also had underlying health conditions.
Last month, thousands of motorcyclists and biking enthusiasts gathered in the South Dakota city of Sturgis for the 10-day rally. While it’s normally an economic boom for the community, most Sturgis residents voted against having the rally this year. But the city approved it anyway.
According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the rally ran from August 7-16, with an estimated 460,000 attendee vehicles. Since the attendees came from all across the U.S, it’s difficult to know how many people were infected at the rally and then brought the virus back to their home states.
Camber Systems which collects and analyzes cell phone activity for health researchers, said that 61% of all US counties have been visited by someone who was at Sturgis.
Last month, a CNN survey of state health departments found at least 260 cases in 12 states linked to the Sturgis rally. Some of those states include Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
South Dakota health officials said a Sturgis tattoo shop employee tested positive for coronavirus and could have infected others during the event. Officials have said another person who spent hours at a bar during the rally also had tested positive for the virus.
Prior to the event, officials in the city said in a CNN report that they offered health recommendations to vendors and businesses, including capacity limits and social distancing as they prepared for the crowds. However, none of the safety measures were legally enforceable.