At least seven people have died due to a coronavirus outbreak linked to an indoor wedding reception in Millinocket, Maine.
One of those deaths occurred in a Millinocket hospital while six were at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center in Madison, a nursing home where 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases emerged last week.
The nursing home is roughly 100 miles southwest of the Big Moose Inn, Cabins and Campground, where the wedding reception was held on Aug. 7. A spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention previously told HuffPost that one of the wedding guests was in the same household as an employee of the nursing home.
The wedding, which saw attendance from more than 60 guests who did not wear masks or socially distance, is now linked to 176 COVID-19 cases in Maine, including an outbreak in York County Jail, which is over 220 miles southwest of Big Moose Inn. One of the wedding guests worked at the jail, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Amanda Roy, whose mother Anna Littlejohn resides at Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center and tested positive for COVID-19, told the Bangor Daily News that she is angry at the wedded couple for the resulting virus spread.
“I’m glad they got the greatest day of their life,” Roy told the paper. “But it made a nightmare and probably the worst days of some other people’s lives.”
During a media briefing this week, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah stressed that all Maine locals needed to remain vigilant to quell the spread of COVID-19. The state was facing over 4,400 confirmed cases and had seen 138 deaths as of 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 had not been the norm in the York County Jail, likely contributing to the outbreak.
“The one theme that runs through all of [these incidents] is mask wearing,” Shah said. “Face coverings both at a molecular level and now at a population level have been well associated at reducing the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19. Does it eliminate the likelihood? No, there’s no intervention in medical science that eliminates anything. But they greatly reduce the likelihood.”
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