At least seven people have died from a coronavirus outbreak linked to an indoor wedding reception in Millinocket, Maine.
One of those deaths occurred at a Millinocket hospital while six were at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center in Madison, a nursing home where 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 emerged last week.
The nursing home is approximately 100 miles southwest of the Big Moose Inn, Cabins and Campground, where the wedding reception was held on August 7. A spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention previously told HuffPost that one of the wedding guests is in the same household as an employee of the nursing home.
The wedding, which saw the participation of more than 60 guests who did not wear masks or social distancing, is now linked to 176 cases of COVID-19 in Maine, including an outbreak in York County Jail, over 220 miles southwest of Big Moose Inn. One of the wedding guests worked at the prison, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Amanda Roy, whose mother Anna Littlejohn resides at Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center and has tested positive for COVID-19, told the Bangor Daily News she was angry with the married couple for the resulting spread of the virus.
“I’m glad they had the best day of their lives,” Roy told the newspaper. “But it made a nightmare and probably the worst days in some people’s lives.”
During a press briefing this week, Maine CDC Director Dr Nirav Shah stressed that all residents of Maine must remain vigilant to quell the spread of COVID-19. The state was facing more than 4,400 confirmed cases and had recorded 138 deaths on Tuesday.
“COVID-19 right now is not on the other side of the fence,” Shah said. “It is in our yards.“
Shah also stressed the importance of face masks, pointing out that wearing masks was not the norm in York County Jail, which likely contributed to the outbreak.
“The only theme that crosses all [these incidents] wear a mask, ”Shah said. “Facial coverings both at the molecular level and now at the population level have been well associated with reducing the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19. Does it eliminate the probability? No, there is no intervention in medical science that eliminates anything. But they greatly reduce the likelihood. “
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