134 coronavirus cases now linked to Maine wedding as outbreak hits jail and nursing home

The outbreak that began at the wedding in Millinocket has spread to the York County Jail and the Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center.

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By David K. Li

The coronavirus outbreak linked to a Maine wedding that violated attendance limits has grown to have infected at least 134 people, state authorities said Tuesday.

Just a week ago, officials reported that 53 positive coronavirus cases had been linked to the Aug. 7 wedding, but now the numbers have more than doubled after the outbreak has been traced to a jail and nursing care center.

The cases now stretch from the far north of Maine in Penobscot County, where the celebration was held in Millinocket, to the south end of the state in York County. At least one death has been linked to the outbreak, according to a Millinocket hospital.

Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah credited the state's contact tracing team with running down leads that revealed the extent of the wedding outbreak.

"I don’t want to so much comment on the exact mechanics of patient number one, patient number two out of fear for revealing potentially private health information," Shah told reporters.

“We have had great cooperation with so many of the folks that have been associated with the wedding," Shah said. "So we have been able to touch base with them and because of that trust and their trust in us, we've been able to learn about some of the dynamics that have unfolded."

The positive cases include 56 guests "as well as their secondary and tertiary contacts,” Shah added. Positive coronavirus cases linked to the wedding now also include:

  • A secondary contact of a wedding guest who is a staffer at a nursing home, the Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center in Madison.
  • 11 more staffers and guests at Maplecrest.
  • A staff member at York County Jail in Alfred who attended the wedding.
  • 18 more staffers at York County Jail.
  • 38 inmates at York County Jail.
  • Five family members of York County Jail staff.

About 65 people attended the reception at the Big Moose Inn Cabins and Campground in Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor, Maine, the CDC has said. The Maine governor's executive orders limit gatherings to 50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors and fewer if the space cannot accommodate five people per 1,000 feet.

The owner of Big Moose Inn did not immediately return telephone or email messages on Wednesday seeking her comments about the new data.

“Our hearts go out to the family, those affected by the virus who were at the wedding, and those who have been impacted since then. There is no doubt that this virus is dangerous with wide-ranging impacts,” owner Laura Cormier said in a statement last week. “We too are deeply saddened and frustrated by the many devastating impacts of COVID-19. This is a challenging time for all of us.”

The state briefly suspended the inn's eating and lodging license, but it was restored in about a day after violations were corrected, according to a receptionist at the lodge.

“We have taken the pandemic seriously, followed the rules as we have understood them, and gone above and beyond those rules to try and keep our guests, staff, and community safe,” Cormier said.

This story was originally published on NBC News.