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Mass COVID-19 testing begins in Sturgis

Mass testing took place outside the Sturgis community center.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 4:48 PM MDT
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STURGIS, S.D. (KEVN) - The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in the books, but the health of both rally goers and the people of Sturgis is still a top priority.

In fact, this week, the department of health issued warnings for both One-Eyed Jack's and Asylum Tattoo.

Mass testing is underway for people in Sturgis who are asymptomatic, and more than 120 cars drove thru the mass testing site this morning.

"The whole family tested. I thought it was really good of Sturgis to offer the voucher, especially with everybody coming into Sturgis for the rally. So we just thought it would be a good thing," says Lane Gemar.

Thirteen hundred tests were available and divided into several groups.

One hundred fifty tests are mandatory for city employees, 400 are for Sturgis residents who worked frontline jobs like restaurants and grocery stores, while 200 are for employees of other entities who requested testing, and 550 are for people living in the town.

"We were around the public during the rally and stuff. It's peace of mind," says Daniel Tammi.

Even though 1300 tests were available, they only gave out about 800 vouchers, leaving hundreds still unclaimed.

Now, if someone didn't register for a voucher, they can still drive-up to the test site, but they need to bring proof that they live within the city limits of Sturgis.

"I think everybody should get tested myself. Just to have a peace of mind, and then we know how bad the virus is in town," says Tammi.

While others feel a different way.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for everybody,” says Harvey Matz.

Testing will take place again Monday and Tuesday, and the city will provide the total number of positive cases when they receive the information.

"I definitely think it puts a lot of people's minds at ease. Especially since a lot of people are angry that they let the rally happen. I feel like this is a step towards the right direction in like letting people getting these free tests that worked on Main Street," says Gage Conley.

If there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city of Sturgis, the city manager says they will continue to meet with the South Dakota Department of Health and the local health care community.

“There are several things that are in place. You know a lot of it will mean continue testing and more testing to try to identify those people. And really encouraging employers as well to really ensure that they’re continuing a lot of the health care screening,” says the City manager for Sturgis, Daniel Ainslie.

Copyright 2020 KOTA. All rights reserved.

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