COVID-19 outbreak associated with a 10-day motorcycle rally in a Neighboring State - Minnesota, August-September 2020

Melanie Firestone, Haley Wienkes, Jacob Garfin, Xiong Wang, Kelley Vilen, Kirk E. Smith, Stacy Holzbauer, Matthew Plumb, Kelly Pung, Carlota Medus, Joseph D. Yao, Matthew J. Binnicker, Andrew C. Nelson, Sophia Yohe, Kathryn Como-Sabetti, Kris Ehresmann, Ruth Lynfield, Richard N Danila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


During August 7-16, 2020, a motorcycle rally was held in western South Dakota that attracted approximately 460,000 persons from across the United States to numerous indoor and outdoor events over a 10-day period. During August-September 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) investigated a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak associated with the rally in Minnesota residents. Fifty-one primary event-associated cases were identified, and 35 secondary or tertiary cases occurred among household, social, and workplace contacts, for a total of 86 cases; four patients were hospitalized, and one died. Approximately one third (34%) of 87 counties in Minnesota had at least one primary, secondary, or tertiary case associated with this rally. Genomic sequencing supported the associations with the motorcycle rally. These findings support current recommendations for mask use, physical distancing, reducing the number of attendees at gatherings, isolation for patients with COVID-19, and quarantine for close contacts to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1). Furthermore, although these findings did not capture the impact of the motorcycle rally on residents of other states, they demonstrate the rationale for consistent mitigation measures across states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1771-1776
Number of pages6
JournalMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Patients described in this report; Brooke Wiedinmyer, Maureen Sullivan, Nicholas Lehnertz, Minnesota Department of Health; Kris Bisgard, CDC; local public health partners; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; University of Minnesota Genomics Center; M Health Fairview Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Minneapolis, Minnesota; M Health Fairview Infectious Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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