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Up to 1,300 COVID-19 tests will be available for Sturgis residents after the city’s 80th annual rally in August that typically draws hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Rapid City Journal

Up to 1,300 COVID-19 tests will be available for Sturgis residents after the city’s 80th annual rally in August that typically draws hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts.

City Manager Daniel Ainslie presented the initiative during the city council meeting on Monday evening. The council approved it unanimously.

“I think there’s an opportunity for the entire state of South Dakota,” Mayor Mark Carstensen said. “This is an opportunity to gather more data from a swatch of a population from the United States — that’s where I’d like to get to.”

According to Ainslie’s report, the city began developing ideas to protect its residents when it made the decision to continue with the rally during its meeting June 15. The rally is slated to be from Aug. 7-16.

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The report states that asymptomatic front-line residents would be able to be tested following the rally.

Ainslie said the parameters for the initiative will be released Friday.

“It is important to note that residents who are symptomatic can receive testing following the Monument Health care protocols,” the report reads. “This proposal does not change or supplement the system that is currently in place. Instead, this proposal is meant to identify asymptomatic residents following the events so that they can self-isolate to avoid inadvertent spread.”

Monument Health would be able to conduct up to 1,300 tests to identify asymptomatic patients. The report notes that testing would occur following the average incubation period after the event.

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According to the CDC, the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to be 14 days with a median time of 4-5 days.

The report notes the city would spend $195,000 for the tests, $150 each, and eventually require a supplemental appropriation from the city’s general fund. However, the city may be eligible for reimbursement through the CARES Act funding.

Ainslie said the city has been allocated $1.54 million through the CARES Act.

He said if enough money isn’t available, then the cost for testing will come from the city’s reserve funds.

According to the report, 150 city employees are mandated to be tested, 400 tests would go to front-line residents (those who work in bars/restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels, etc.), 200 to employees of other entities who request testing, and 550 general tests for residents.

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Ainslie said the city is waiting to test after the motorcycle rally so residents get the tests instead of visitors.

The report states vouchers would be provided to entities that qualify and be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Any of the vouchers that aren’t allocated would be used to increase the tests available for city residents.

Ainslie said the city has spoken with local businesses and 200 have expressed interest so far. He also said residents would have to prove their residency in order to receive a voucher for a test.

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