Some 300 attendees of a wedding held in Washington state earlier this month are being asked to quarantine after several people who attended the nuptials have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The wedding was held at a “private location” near Ritzville on Nov. 7, officials with the Grant County Health District (GCHD) said in a Monday news release. At least 17 cases of COVID-19 in Grant County have been connected to the event, the release said, “with more being added daily.”
However, “due to the multi-jurisdictional impact of this large event, GCHD felt it was necessary to notify the public. GCHD is trying to notify attendees about possible exposure, but with more than 300 people attending the wedding from many communities, local health jurisdictions are unlikely to reach them all,” said officials.
“Attendees diagnosed with COVID-19 have also been linked to 2 subsequent outbreaks. This is an evolving situation,” they added.
The wedding-goers are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 in addition to self-quarantining until Nov. 21.
“We are very thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home. This helps protect their friends, coworkers, and communities from this illness” said District Administrator Theresa Adkinson in a statement.
Wedding ceremonies in Washington state have been limited to a maximum of 30 people since September, and, as of Monday, “indoor receptions or similar gatherings in conjunction with the ceremony” are prohibited, GCHD officials said.
“Wedding organizers are strongly encouraged to keep a log of attendees at each service and to retain that log for at least two weeks. If an outbreak occurs, this information may be critical to help save lives,” said the news release.
The news comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a report used as a cautionary example a notorious superspreader wedding reception in Maine in its effort to advise against large gatherings as coronavirus cases rise throughout the country.
The reception, held in August in Millinocket, a rural Maine town, made headlines over the summer as the outbreak continued to unfold. Health officials’ investigation of the event revealed noncompliance with federally recommended mitigation guidelines.
According to the CDC, the reception led to at least 177 cases, seven hospitalizations and seven deaths, and the virus likely spread from the wedding to a nursing home and jail hundreds of miles away. Those who had serious outcomes and died from infections linked to the reception were not even attendees.
This example “highlight[s] the importance of adhering to recommended mitigation measures even in communities where transmission rates are low,” the CDC said. “Community gatherings such as weddings, birthday parties, church events, and funerals have the potential to be [COVID-19] super-spreading events.”
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.