Public health officials are investigating a crowded wedding reception at a Maine hotel that led to a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected at least two dozen people.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said approximately 65 guests attended the Aug. 7 reception at Big Moose Inn in Millinocket.
As of Monday, 18 people who attended the event and six others who had close contact with attendees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Maine CDC. All 24 of those confirmed cases are Maine residents, officials said.
“Maine CDC continues to conduct case investigations and contact tracing for guests, staff, and people who potentially came in close contact with confirmed cases during and after the event,” officials said in a statement. “Anyone who attended an event at Big Moose Inn on August 7, 2020, and who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call their health care provider before seeking medical care.”
Maine CDC officials said they have been in touch with the staff of Big Moose Inn to find out more about the nature of the event and whether anyone violated state requirements that were put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Maine currently limits indoor gatherings to 50 people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 100, with no more than five people per 1,000 square feet.
Located in Penobscot County, Millinocket has a population of 4,506 people and bills itself as “Maine’s biggest small town” and the gateway to Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park. Big Moose Inn offers suites, a campground, a restaurant, and cabins on Millinocket Lake.
A phone call to the inn was not immediately returned.
One person linked to the outbreak was being treated at Millinocket Regional Hospital, Dr. Robert Peterson, the hospital’s chief executive, said in a statement Wednesday.
The hospital has tested more than 300 people, Peterson said, and of the 28 infections it reported, the CDC found that 24 were “definitively linked to the reception.” About 190 tests are pending, with results expected Thursday, Peterson said.
Peterson said the hospital is preparing “for the second layer of potential positive patients as we approach the 14-day mark since the event.”
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