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Aug. 7 wedding in Millinocket, Maine, now linked to 134 coronavirus cases in that state, official says

A health care provider conducted COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of the Millinocket Regional Hospital's walk-in clinic in East Millinocket, Maine on Aug. 18.Linda Coan O'Kresik/Associated Press

A wedding on Aug. 7 in Millinocket, Maine, has been linked to 134 coronavirus cases statewide, a public health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Nirav D. Shah, head of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the tally during his regular news briefing.

He said 123 cases are confirmed and 11 cases are probable. The cases included wedding guests, their contacts, and people later infected at Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center in Madison, Maine, and the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine.

A jail employee attended the wedding, Shah said, and a Maplecrest employee was a “secondary contact” of an attendee.

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Shah said the investigation into the clusters linked to the wedding is ongoing. One woman whose infection was tied to the nuptials but who did not attend the event, 83-year-old Theresa Dentremont, has died.

The first Friday in August outside the Tri Town Baptist Church was one of those quintessential summer Maine days. Midday temperatures reached the high 70s. A bay of spruce trees rose up behind the tiny East Millinocket church, the green lawn spread before it. A perfect day for a young couple’s wedding.

At the ceremony’s end, the crowd headed to the Big Moose Inn, a lodge and restaurant sandwiched between the Ambajejus and Millinocket lakes. Each guest had his or her temperature checked at the door, and once cleared, went inside to feast on rib-eye and duck, toast the couple, and dance for hours. Few of the 62 wedding and reception attendees wore masks.

The pastor who officiated the wedding, Todd Bell, gave a defiant sermon during an indoor church service on Sunday.

“I’ll tell you what the world wants all the churches to do,” Bell said during one of two Sunday services, which his church, Cavalry Baptist Church, posted on YouTube. “They want us to shut down, go home, and let people get used to that just long enough until we can finally stop the advancing of the Gospel.”

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Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.