Wedding in Maine linked to seven deaths and 175 cases of Covid-19

Wedding in Maine linked to seven deaths and 175 cases of Covid-19

Maine health officials say they have identified connections between the 'superspreader' wedding and outbreaks that occurred in different locations around the state in the weeks since. Picture: Pexels

A wedding which took place in a rural area of Maine in the US has been linked to seven coronavirus-related deaths and more than 175 confirmed cases.

The wedding, which was later found to be in violation of Maine's virus guidelines, was held in the Katahdin region of the state on August 7.

It is estimated that more than 65 people attended the wedding - exceeding the 50-person event limit currently permitted in Maine.

None of those who died were present at the wedding itself - six of the seven deaths were recorded at a rehabilitation and living centre in the town of Madison, over 100 miles away. 

It is thought that the disease spread to the rehab facility through an employee who lives in the same household as one of the wedding's attendees.

Maine health officials say they have identified connections between the 'superspreader' wedding and outbreaks that have occurred in different locations around the state in the weeks since.

The Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC), Nirav Shah said this week that, as a result of the wedding, "the gains that Maine has made against Covid-19 are ones that could, and unfortunately can, be washed away."

One of the attendees at the wedding was an employee of the York County jail, located some 220 miles away. 

At the jail, more than 70 cases of Covid-19 have since been confirmed.

The venue of the wedding itself, The Big Moose Inn located in rural Millinocket, had its business license temporarily withdrawn.

The pastor who officiated the wedding, Reverend Todd Bell of the Cavalry Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine has also come under fire as a result.

Mr Bell has been outspoken about his church's right to continue to hold religious services.

In a statement issued earlier this week, the Church said it had a "legal right to meet."

The Church said: "These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution."

The Guardian is reporting that the Church has now hired a PR firm that specialises in religious liberty to represent it. 

It has also been reported that ten members of the Calvary Baptist Church have tested positive for the virus in recent days.

Maine CDC has urged citizens to abide by the latest health guidelines.

Mr Shah said: "The trends that we've seen over the last two weeks tell us that things are either getting worse or not getting better.

"The virus favors gatherings.

"It does not distinguish between happy events like a wedding celebration or sad farewells like a funeral," he added.

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