The reception was held Aug. 7 at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, and the number of associated cases has risen to a total of 53, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Saturday, according to an update from the state health department. The Maine CDC announced it opened an investigation into the virus outbreak at the wedding on Aug. 17 and reported 24 cases at that time.
The virus has spread to people who did not attend the wedding, state health department officials wrote. Those infected had close contact with wedding attendees and spread the virus to their close contacts as well, explaining “secondary” and “tertiary” cases.
As of Saturday, there were 41 confirmed and 12 probable cases included in the outbreak. The ages of those infected range from 4 to 98 years old, with 83% reporting feeling symptoms for COVID-19. The median age of cases is 41 years.
Millinocket Regional Hospital said one female inpatient admission linked to the event had died during the early afternoon on Friday. The hospital said it tested 366 people for the virus as of Friday and also limited visitors to essential medical personnel only as virus-positive individuals continued to be identified in the community.
“All positive patients have been contacted directly, given care instructions, and further instructed to quarantine. The CDC has initiated contact tracing on all positive patients to ascertain the full extent of the outbreak,” hospital officials wrote. “The hospital continues to have adequate capacity to manage this outbreak and adequate stock levels of personal protective equipment.”
The Big Moose Inn in Millinocket violated the size of permitted gathering under the governor’s executive order and was cited with an “imminent health hazard” from the Maine CDC’s Health Inspection Program on Thursday. The order allows gatherings up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, with a punishment fine up to $10,000 and payment of civil damages to the state for contact tracing and testing. There were approximately 65 guests at the wedding reception.
The state health department said those who attend social gatherings should remain 6 feet apart and wear cloth face coverings when not eating or drinking.
Fox News’ Amy McGorry contributed to this report.