- A wedding reception in Maine has caused 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus and counting.
- Nearly half of those cases include people who didn’t go to the wedding, Maine’s CDC reported.
- It’s not clear whether people wore masks at the event, but the venue exceeded the state’s indoor limit of 50 people.
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A wedding reception in Millinocket, Maine, led to 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
One woman who did not attend the event died on Friday after being infected with COVID-19 after coming in close contact with a guest, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Sixty-five people went to the August 7 reception, which was largely indoors, Maine’s CDC director Nirav Shah said in a press conference on August 20. The venue, “Big Moose Inn,” exceeded the state’s limit on indoor gatherings, which is 50 people, Shah said.
The median age of infected people among the outbreak is 42, but there’s a wide range from four years old to 78, Shah said on Thursday. Most of them reported symptoms about 4 days after the reception, but roughly 13% were asymptomatic, he added.
It’s not the first time a celebration of sorts ended led to a somber if not lethal outcome.
In May, a birthday party in California made national headlines when it infected at least 5 people, several of whom became seriously ill, a spokesperson for the Pasadena Public Health Department told Business Insider at the time.
The outbreak started with a single person who attended the party without a face mask, while coughing into the air and joking about having COVID-19, officials said.
“She was joking with people at the birthday party,” Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman for Pasadena, told CNN at the time. “She said I may have Covid-19, and lo and behold, she did.”
In Millinocket, nearly half — 23 — of the reported cases linked to the wedding are among people who didn’t attend, according to the Press Herald. But efforts to contract-trace, or identify those who’ve come into contact with infected people, are still underway, Maine’s CDC said.
In general, contract tracing in the US isn’t going well, The New York Times reported last month. In many scenarios, the virus is running rampant ahead of investigators’ efforts. In others, delays to getting test results in turn delays infected people from staying home.
In fact, the method is more appropriate for states like Maine, which has a low overall infection rate. At 53 cases and counting, the Millinocket wedding is the state’s second-biggest outbreak to date, the Herald reported.
Elsewhere, those resources are better spent on things like testing sites, helping schools prepare for reopening, and educating the public about masks and other preventative measures, public health officials told the Times.
“Contact tracing is the wrong tool for the wrong job at the wrong time,” Dr. David Lakey, the former state health commissioner of Texas, said in the Times’ report.
Video: CDC: Virus deaths coming down, vigilance required (Associated Press)