The 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is underway, but for the second straight year, the talk surrounding the annual event in the Black Hills is more about health than Harleys.

After the 2020 edition of the rally drew around 400,000 bikers during the first outbreak of COVID-19 across the country, an expected crowd of nearly doubled that this year in the midst of the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta Variant of coronavirus.

That has led a number of health experts to question whether attending the 2021 rally is a good idea.

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In an attempt to help rallygoers head to Sturgis with a bit more peace of mind, free COVID testing is being provided throughout the Black Hills during the event, which runs through Sunday (August 15).

Monument Health is partnering with the South Dakota Department of Health to provide free over-the-counter antigen COVID-19 test kits to visitors during the rally.

The kits are being distributed to Visit Rapid City, the Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association Visitor Information Center, and the City of Sturgis, which will deliver tests to attendees, vendors, residents, and others.

The tests are self-administered and involve the swabbing of the nostrils, followed by a 15-minute waiting period for test results.

Anyone testing positive will be encouraged to self-quarantine or follow-up with a more comprehensive test at a Monument Health facility in Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish, or Sturgis.

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