Report tracks COVID-19 outbreak from wedding reception

A wedding reception in rural Maine attended by 55 guests was epidemiologically linked to 177 COVID-19 cases between Aug. 7 and Sept. 14, including seven hospitalizations and seven deaths, according to a new report issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Secondary and subsequent contacts following the wedding reception, researchers believe, led to infections at a long-term care facility about 100 miles away and a correctional facility about 200 miles away.

Six of the deaths associated with the event involved residents at the long-term care facility. With 55 guests, the reception exceeded Maine’s 50-person limit for an indoor gathering in a shared space.

The wedding venue had posted signs instructing visitors to wear masks, but, according to the report, “guests did not comply with this requirement” or social distancing recommendations.

Ultimately, 30 of the 55 guests tested positive for COVID-19. The venue did not have information about the wedding guests, so Maine health officials linked cases to the event by backward tracing, in which people with confirmed or probable COVID-19 were interviewed to determine whether they attended the wedding reception or were in close contact with someone who had tested positive.

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