Is Monument Health Sturgis Hospital ready for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:22 PM CDT
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The fate of the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is up in the air because of the coronavirus.

And as people wait for the Sturgis City Council to make a decision, is the city's hospital ready if an influx of coronavirus cases comes in?

Businesses are not the only ones who have to prepare for the hundreds of thousands of people who come to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Hospitals do too.

Monument Health's Sturgis Hospital sees three to four times the normal volume of patients during the Rally.

"Over the years we have seen a transition of patients from typically we saw a lot of trauma in the decades ago," Mark Schulte, Monument Health Sturgis Hospital Market President, said. "Now as the rally population has gotten older, we see a lot of medical conditions."

Common medical emergencies like chronic heart failure or diabetes.

But some conditions are more extreme. In 2018, four people died in traffic crashes.

"If you have the rally and you bring in a huge amount of people and then we have COVID patients, we will not have enough beds, not enough ventilators. We do not have enough nurses," Brenda Janovy, a registered nurse, said.

However, Schulte said Monument Health is prepared.

They currently have 25 ICU beds and treat between 16 to 19 people in the sturgis hospital.

But, Schulte said the hospital expanded its capacity per the governor's request and is prepared for 2,500 patients.

But what if all the ICU beds are filled up between the influx of trauma patients during the rally, and a potential surge of COVID-19 patients?

"Those are the exact 'what if' scenarios that we've been working with the governor's office on," Schulte said.

No matter what decision the city council makes, people are still going to come.

Schulte said he doesn't believe there will be a spike in coronavirus cases. But he said they are prepared to treat anyone in need.

"Not only the patients that come for the rally but continue to take care of the citizens of Sturgis and the surrounding area," Schulte said.

The Sturgis City Council is expected to make a decision on June 15th.