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Free COVID-19 tests are available for anybody at the Sturgis Rally

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 5:07 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Tomorrow marks the official start to the Sturgis Rally, and after controversy of the event being labeled as a COVID-19 super spreader last year, there’s growing concerns about what this year might look like. With the new dominant and more transmissible strain of the virus, the Delta Variant, coming to light -- this raises questions around how attendees can ensure their wellbeing.

The City of Sturgis has teamed up with South Dakota’s Department of Health, alongside Monument Health, is distributing self-administered COVID-19 testing kits to the public.

Christina Steele, Public Information Officer for the City of Sturgis says, “These are just little tests that you get that you take home. You still do the nose swab, but you have results within 15 minutes.”

The City has informed businesses owners, vendors and residents of the availability of tests and how to obtain them, like from the information center. The City stresses that anyone is welcome to them, including locals and visitors alike.

“So, if they’re not feeling well or if they think they’ve been around someone who’s had COVID, maybe they’ve not been vaccinated,” says Steele, “these tests are available free of charge and we have them at City Hall. They just need to call.”

The City is currently in possession of 500 tests, but they say they are easily able to receive more if supplies run low.

Dr. Shankar Kurra, Vice President of Monument Health’s Medical Affairs says, “What it is, is an antigen test kit. So, it’s not as precise as the lab tests. So, if you’re positive then you have the disease. If you’re negative, don’t assume you don’t have the disease. So, if you do one of those test kits and you are negative and you still have symptoms, please go to the lab and get tested.”

If the Rally has 800 thousand attendees, which organizers say is entirely possible, that doubles South Dakota’s population for the week.

“The good news is,” says Dr. Kurra, “we are prepared as far as testing is concerned, as far as taking care of COVID cases is a concern. What we need from everyone is to go get the shot to save lives.”

If a person would like a test, they can reach out to the City of Sturgis at (605) 347-4422.

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