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Black Hills doctor urges people get their boosters prior to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Bikers visit vendors and local businesses during a Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Jim Kent for NPR
Bikers visit vendors and local businesses during a Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The interview posted above is from SDPB's daily public affairs show, In the Moment, with Lori Walsh.

A highly contagious strain of COVID-19 has a Rapid City health care professional urging people to get their booster shot prior to this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which is Aug. 5-14.

Adults 50 and older — and some younger people who are immunocompromised — are eligible for a second vaccine booster shot. Dr. Shankar Kurra is vice-president of medical affairs at Monument Health. He is especially concerned that only one-third of South Dakotans over 50 have gotten their second booster prior to the rally.

"Unfortunately, that results in spread of the virus. And that's the epidemiology of the disease," Kurra said. "This is a very effective virus as we can see the most recent BA.5 version. It's much more transmissible than BA.1, which was more than the delta variant."

Active COVID infections in the state are up 515 cases from last week for a total of 4,390 cases.

The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting 11 new deaths. The total death toll of COVID in the state now stands at 2,956 people.