PIERRE, S.D. —The 80th Sturgis Bike Rally vehicle traffic counts for the first three days of the week long rally are down from last year's counts, according to data from the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
Friday, August 7: 49,835 entering the rally – down 4.3% from Friday last year
Saturday, August 8: 54,804 – down 8.0% from Saturday last year
Sunday, August 9: 56,149 – up 1.1% from Sunday last year
3-day total: 160,788 – up from 167,222 last year
Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price tweeted an alarming statistic from the state's fatality crash report.
"Year to date, 60 people have died in vehicle crashes. Up 30% from 2019," Price wrote.
According to a South Dakota Highway Patrol report for incident data compiled from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday, no fatal crashes were reported at Sturgis Bike Rally in addition to 20 injury accidents were reported and 39 felony drug citations were issued.
South Dakota's drug overdose deaths are troubling to South Dakota Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon, though health officials have yet to determine whether COVID-19 played a role in the higher overdose rates or not.
"I can tell you that preliminary we are seeing a higher rate of deaths from drug overdoes," Malsam-Rysdon said during a press call Monday, adding that it's higher than it has been in the last ten years.
Malsam-Rysdon said methamphetamine overdoses are highest.
South Dakota's active COVID-19 cases increased by 59 on Monday, Aug. 10. for a total of 1,146 active cases.
The state's total number of coronavirus cases is now at 9,663, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. Of those positive cases, 8,371 have recovered. Currently 63 people are hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.
Gov. Kristi Noem said there's a risk to everything done in life, noting that more South Dakotans died from accidental injuries than from COVID-19 in the past 5 months in a press release Monday, Aug. 10.
"We mitigate risks by taking proper precautions when we get in our cars, when we operate farm equipment, and when we make choices about what we eat and how much we exercise. The same should be true about life as we get back to normal," Noem stated. "We need to emphasize facts, not fear. Let’s tell the story of what works in the fight against this virus, and let’s continue to get through this together."
As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage.