A Maine wedding, which violated state virus guidelines, has been linked to over 100 confirmed coronavirus cases and seven deaths.
The August reception, which was held at Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, has been linked to at least 175 confirmed coronavirus cases, seven of which have died. None of the deceased attended the wedding, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
The cases stemming from the wedding have spread outside Millinocket. Health authorities have confirmed that an employee of the York County Jail attended the wedding, and an employee from a Madison rehabilitation center, which is the site of six of the seven deaths, lives in the same home as someone who attended the wedding. The six residents of the facility did not attend the wedding.
“Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. COVID-19, right now, is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC, said. “The gains that Maine has made against COVID-19 are ones that could, and unfortunately, can be washed away.”
Up until now, Maine has stood out amongst the states that had very few cases, reporting less than 5,000 cases of the virus since March.
Since the ceremony was officiated by pastor Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, the Maine CDC is also working to determine if an outbreak at the church that sickened 10 people is connected to the wedding outbreak.
Calvary Baptist Church issued a statement on Tuesday saying that “a number of Calvary Baptist Church members attended” the wedding reception.
“The Calvary Baptist Church has a legal right to meet. The authority of a local Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, or a Muslim mosque to gather for their respective religious services is a time-honored part of our nation’s history since its inception,” the statement said. “These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.”