COVID-19 Outbreak At Wedding Reception In Maine Linked To 2 Other Outbreaks

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A COVID-19 outbreak at a wedding reception in Maine now appears to have led to two other outbreaks at a jail and a nursing home, showing how easily the virus can spread, public health officials said Tuesday.

The wedding reception was held indoors on Aug. 7, with about 65 attendees, a violation of the state’s rule that indoor gatherings can have no more than 50 people due to the pandemic.

Soon after, a staff member at the York County Jail — more than 230 miles south of the wedding in Millinocket — tested positive after attending the wedding, according to state officials. 

In addition, a staff member at a nursing home more than 100 miles south of the wedding tested positive. The staff member is believed to have gotten COVID-19 from their parent, who had been in close contact with a wedding attendee who tested positive.

As of Tuesday, at least 22 people who attended the wedding have tested positive, as well as dozens more who had been in contact with wedding attendees. At least 18 people at the jail and six at the nursing home have tested positive.

“COVID-19 can be the uninvited guest at every single wedding, party or event in Maine,” the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah said at a press conference Tuesday. “These recent examples show how aggressive and how opportunistic this virus is and how quickly it can move from one community to another.”

At least one person who got COVID-19 as a result of the outbreak at the wedding died from the virus, officials said last week. The person didn’t attend the wedding, but was in close contact with someone who did.

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