City of Sturgis releases community COVID-19 testing results following rally
STURGIS, S.D. — The City of Sturgis recently conducted a mass COVID-19 testing event following the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Testing took place on August 21, 24, and 25, five to nine days after the official last day of the Rally and 11-15 days from the peak day of attendance.
The city contracted for up to 1,300 tests which represents 20% of the community’s population. The testing was reserved for four different groups; City Employees (mandatory), School District Employees (voluntary), Employees of Private Businesses throughout the community (voluntary), and Residents of Sturgis (voluntary).
Despite having 1,300 tests available, only 650 individuals chose to take part in the free testing event. All individuals requesting a test were asymptomatic at the time of testing.
The Department of Health reports asymptomatic positives statewide fall in the range of 3% to 7% on average, and the Sturgis community average of 4% falls within this range.
The increase in testing resulted in an increase in positive cases being identified in the community. The tests allowed COVID-19 positive individuals to take necessary measures to avoid unknowingly spreading the infection to others.
In an effort to continue to aid those that prefer to minimize their exposure, the city is continuing to maintain all COVID-19 protocols that have been in place for several months.
Though total attendees of the event far surpassed all anticipations, the vast majority of attendees greatly changed their behaviors by spending far less time in downtown Sturgis and far more time socially distant, riding the beautiful Black Hills.
The testing initiative was just one of the measures put in place to protect residents and attendees from the spread of COVID-19 during the event which encompassed several hundred square miles. Additionally, the city also provided PPE supplies to area businesses and provided free shopping and delivery services to all residents who chose to remain at home before, during, and after the Rally event.