In neighboring Minnesota, the state’s health department investigated a Covid-19 outbreak tied to the rally and found at least 51 residents had attended the rally and became sick, and an additional 35 people were infected after coming into contact with a person who went to the rally, the report said. Those 35 people were household, social and workplace contacts, it said.
Of those 86 cases, four people were hospitalized, and one died.
About one third of all Minnesota’s counties had at least one case associated with the rally, the report says.
“These findings highlight the far-reaching effects that gatherings in one area might have on another area,” the report says. “The motorcycle rally was held in a neighboring state that did not have policies regarding event size and mask use, underscoring the implications of policies within and across jurisdictions.”
Among the report’s limitations, it says the findings don’t capture the impact the rally had on other states and these numbers are likely an underestimate of the rally’s true impact in Minnesota.
Ten of the Covid-19 patients reported having close contacts, but refused to disclose any of their details, so public health workers were unable to see if any of them were sick. At least two rally attendees also said that some of their contacts had Covid-19-like symptoms but did not plan on getting tested.
“Despite underascertainment of the rally’s full impact in Minnesota and other states, these findings highlight the importance of reducing the number of attendees at gatherings and emphasizing mask use, physical distancing, isolation for patients with COVID-19, and quarantine for close contacts as strategies for reducing the spread of COVID-19,” this week’s report says.
“Furthermore, these findings demonstrate the rationale for consistent mitigation measures across states.”