KEY POINTS

  • More than 460,000 vehicles participated in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this year
  • South Dakota state officials said a COVID-19 positive person went to a bar during the event
  • They are asking those who were at the bar on Aug. 11 to monitor themselves for symptoms   

Health officials in South Dakota have issued a warning after a person who visited a bar during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands of people attended the annual event held earlier this month.

South Dakota health department issued an advisory Tuesday asking those who visited One-Eyed Jack's Saloon in Sturgis, a city located in the western part of the state, on Aug. 11 between noon and 5:30 p.m. to monitor themselves for any symptoms.

"Due to the risk of exposure, individuals that visited the business during the specified dates and times should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after they visited," a statement from the state's health department said.

Health officials said the person, a South Dakota resident, may have infected others who were present with him at the bar. No other details were revealed about the person.

Federal and state officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the rapid spread of the virus, particularly in indoor settings. Early this month, one man who attended a church service in Ohio infected 91 other persons with the deadly virus.

The state health department advised the public to make use of the screening tool provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and also get in touch with their doctors through phone before going to their clinic or hospital if they develop symptoms. This is to prevent infected persons from spreading the infection in healthcare facilities.

It also urged residents to avoid close contact with sick persons, follow proper hand hygiene and observe social distancing. Officials said those who are at high risk of serious symptoms should take the necessary precautions to minimize their risk of exposure.

The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began on Aug. 7 and culminated on Sunday this week. Over 460,000 vehicles were part of the 10-day event, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. The participation was around 7.5% less this time compared to last year, when approximately 500,000 vehicles entered the city, the Associated Press reported.

The organizers of the rally did not make it mandatory for participants to wear face coverings. South Dakota is one of the states that did not issue a mask mandate or stay-at-home order since the coronavirus crisis began in the U.S. Many of those who went to the event reportedly did not take substantial precautions against the coronavirus.