SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A Minnesota man who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota last month has died from COVID-19, Minnesota health officials reported on Wednesday.
It is the first reported coronavirus death that might be linked to the biker rally. At least 290 people in 12 states have tested positive for the coronavirus since attending the rally that drew hundreds of thousands of people, according to an Associated Press survey.
The 10-day rally went forward despite fears it could become a super-spread event, with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem welcoming bikers and the tourist dollars they spend. Bikers crowded into bars and rock shows, mostly ignoring social distancing recommendations. Few wore masks.
Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, said health officials have also seen infections spread from people who attended Sturgis, but those infections weren't included in the state's count of Sturgis-linked infections, which stood at 50 on Wednesday.
She said people who attended the rally have reported moving between events, campgrounds and indoor and outdoor spaces.
“Pretty much everyone was in a crowded setting,” Ehresmann said.
The man who died in Minnesota was in his 60s, had underlying health conditions and was hospitalized before he died, according to Ehresmann.
The Washington Post first reported the death.