6 NH Residents Test Positive for COVID After Attending Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Health officials are recommending that all New Hampshire residents who traveled to South Dakota for the rally get tested and quarantine for 14 days

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Six New Hampshire residents are among the 100 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota earlier this month, health officials said Wednesday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that all New Hampshire residents who traveled to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally get tested for COVID-19. They should also quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days upon their return to New Hampshire, even if they test negative.

The state's travel guidelines require anyone traveling anywhere outside New England to quarantine for 14 days.

New Hampshire's Laconia Motorcycle Week kicked off last weekend and continues through Sunday. Asked if there is any known link between the Sturgis event and Laconia, Laura Montenegro, a spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said, "We would have no way of knowing that unless it was self-reported."

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued an emergency order last week in advance of bike week requiring everyone to wear a mask at gatherings of more than 100 people. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission also met ahead of time with bars and restaurants to go over safety guidelines. Other precautions put in place included social distancing markers on sidewalks and the closure of several bars.

Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered people to wear masks at all New Hampshire events with more than 100 people. This week features the Big Tent Revival and Laconia Motorcycle Week.

The South Dakota Department of Health has issued public notifications about potential exposures at multiple locations in Sturgis from Aug. 11 to Aug. 17. They said anyone who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have been exposed to COVID-19.

So far, coronavirus cases linked to Sturgis have been identified in eight other states other than New Hampshire. Other cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Washington, Wisconsin and South Dakota, where the 10-day rally was held.

The rally, which ran from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16 in Sturgis, about 30 miles northwest of Rapid City, drew attendees on more than 460,000 vehicles, the South Dakota Transportation Department said. That was down by nearly 8% from the roughly 500,000 vehicles at last year's rally.

This year's rally drew scrutiny after images and video appeared to show very few attendees wearing masks or observing social distancing. The lead singer for the band Smash Mouth came under fire for mocking the pandemic onstage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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