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Virus death toll linked to Maine wedding grows to 7

PORTLAND, Maine — At least seven individuals have died in connection to a coronavirus outbreak that continues to sicken individuals in Maine following a wedding reception held over the summer season that violated state virus tips, public well being authorities mentioned.

The August wedding reception on the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket is linked to greater than 175 confirmed instances of the virus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned Tuesday.

Maine authorities have recognized overlaps between the wedding reception and outbreaks elsewhere within the state. An worker of the York County Jail attended the wedding, Maine CDC officers have mentioned. Maine well being officers have additionally mentioned an outbreak at a Madison rehabilitation middle, which is the location of six of the seven deaths, is linked to the wedding as a result of an worker of the ability lives in the identical family as an individual who attended.

The virus instances stemming from the wedding have spanned a whole lot of miles in a state that had largely managed the unfold of the coronavirus via the summer season. Maine has reported lower than 5,000 instances of the virus in complete since March.

But the rising variety of instances associated to the wedding, which exceeded the state’s tips of fifty individuals or much less at indoor gatherings, might undo a few of that progress if it continues to swell. Authorities have mentioned greater than 65 individuals attended the wedding.

The six individuals from the Madison rehabilitation facility who died had been all residents of that facility and none of them attended the wedding reception, mentioned Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC.

“Maine CDC is concerned about where we are and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. COVID-19, right now, is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards,” Shah mentioned. (*7*)

The wedding was additionally officiated by pastor Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford. The Maine CDC is presently investigating to decide if an outbreak on the church is linked to the wedding outbreak. That outbreak has sickened 10 individuals, Shah mentioned.

Calvary Baptist Church issued an announcement on Tuesday that mentioned “a number of Calvary Baptist Church members attended” the wedding reception. The assertion mentioned the church is taking precautions to restrict the unfold of the virus and it’ll defend its proper to proceed holding providers.

“The Calvary Baptist Church has a legal right to meet. The authority of a local Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, or a Muslim mosque to gather for their respective religious services is a time-honored part of our nation’s history since its inception,” the assertion mentioned. “These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.”

Bell has been essential of presidency makes an attempt to management coronavirus and movies present he has held providers with out using social distancing. He employed a lawyer identified nationally for defending the spiritual rights of church buildings. Neither Bell nor the legal professional working with the church, David Gibbs of Florida, personally responded to a request Tuesday for remark.

Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long mentioned the company’s investigations counsel “multiple potential points of transmission related to the August 7 wedding and reception.” The company is working to restrict the unfold of the virus and help individuals affected by it, he mentioned.

Shah mentioned the state’s p.c positivity rate has ticked up to 0.63 p.c for the earlier seven days. At one level, the rate was lower than half a proportion level. The rate stays effectively beneath the nationwide common of about 5 p.c, Shah mentioned.

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