Can COVID-19 spread in outdoor settings?

Coronavirus Updates
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Five Utahns who attended a large motorcycle rally in South Dakota have contracted the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The UDOH can’t say for sure if the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is where Utahns contracted the virus, but they can confirm their travel to the event.

At least 260 cases in 11 states have been tied directly to the event, which took place in August, according to a survey of health departments by the Washington Post.

Tom Hudachko, UDOH Spokesperson, said contact tracing at large events can be difficult.

“It is hard to determine whether somebody actually contracted the virus in a specific event like this. But we do ask individuals about large events that they have attended, potentially while they were infectious. We don’t necessarily differentiate if those were outdoor events or indoor events, but we do ask people about the types of large events that they’ve been to during their infectious period.”

Following the 10-day event, which drew more than 400,000 people to South Dakota, many have started asking if COVID-19 can spread outdoors.

“There is research that has indicated that COVID is less likely to spread outdoors because the virus tends to dissipate faster into the air and fall out of the air faster than it does in indoor settings,” Hudachko explained. “But absolutely people who are gathering outdoors especially in large crowds, there’s the potential for the virus to spread in those types of settings.”

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, Hudachko told ABC4 News that it is important to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick.

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