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7 coronavirus-related deaths now connected to Maine wedding

The Big Moose Inn on Millinocket Lake in Millinocket, Maine.
The Big Moose Inn on Millinocket Lake in Millinocket, Maine.Linda Coan O'Kresik/Associated Press

A now-notorious Aug. 7 wedding in the area of Millinocket, Maine, has been linked to seven coronavirus deaths and 176 positive cases, a public health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the updated tallies during his regular briefing with reporters.

Shah said six of the seven people who have died were residents of the Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center in Madison, Maine. A total of 39 cases have been linked to Maplecrest, according to Shah, who said previously that a wedding attendee infected a parent, who passed the virus to another child who works at Maplecrest.

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“Just yesterday Maine CDC became aware of an additional 11 cases at Maplecrest, leading to the total of 39 cases,″ Shah said. “These most recent 11 cases are in and among residents of the Maplecrest facility. But I want to stress that they are the result of periodic re-testing that is occurring at the facility on a weekly basis. As I mentioned in total, there are now 39 residents associated with that facility who have tested positive.”

And sadly, Shah said, there have been "six individuals associated with that facility who have passed away with COVID-19. . . . More generally related to the Millinocket wedding event, I mentioned there have been 176 cases, and including now the six individuals who have passed away at Maplecrest, [bringing] a total of seven individuals who have passed away with COVID-19 resulting from and related to” the nuptials.

Additional cases linked to the wedding have arisen at the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine. Shah has said previously that one wedding guest works at the facility.

The wedding was was held at Tri Town Baptist Church in East Millinocket and the reception followed at the Big Moose Inn on Millinocket Lake, officials have said. The roughly 65 guests at the wedding and the reception ranged in age from 4 to 98 years old, and 83 percent reported experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 afterward, authorities said.

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Todd Bell, the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine, had officiated the wedding at Tri Town Baptist Church.

Calvary Baptist Church said Tuesday in a statement that “a number of Calvary Baptist Church members attended” the wedding reception. The statement said the church is taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus and will defend its right to continue holding services.

“The Calvary Baptist Church has a legal right to meet," the statement said. "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. These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report, and material from prior Globe stories was included.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.