The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) said in a press release on Aug. 17 that it had opened an investigation into the outbreak connected to the wedding reception which took place at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, Maine, on Aug. 7.
According to the Maine CDC, approximately 65 guests were present at the reception, which is more than the limit of 50 allowed in an executive order issued by Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Aug. 1.
During the investigation, Maine CDC stated that 24 of the individuals who were associated with the wedding rehearsal were infected with COVID-19. Among the 24, 18 were there at the rehearsal, and the other 6 had a close interaction with the people who attended the reception.
All of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 were Maine residents.
Maine CDC is using contact tracing to identify more guests, staff, and other people who might have had contact with those infected.
“Right now, we do not know whether the outbreak originated at the Big Moose Inn, or whether there may have been additional sites of transmission at other points during the gathering,” said Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC, during a COVID-19 press conference on Aug. 18.
“We know there were cases associated with the Big Moose Inn, but we’re trying to get more granularity over what the specifics are,” Shah said. “What we know right now is the reception that occurred there on Aug. 7 was a connecting point and there may have been other sources of transmission in addition to the reception at the Big Moose Inn.”
Maine CDC advised that anyone who went to the wedding reception and has been or is currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and body aches—should visit or seek help from their medical health provider.
Shah also explained that it’s not enough to just find out whether there is an outbreak—which Maine CDC has defined as “three or more cases that are epidemiologically linked”—but to figure out where or who the virus derived from.
Maine CDC is also trying to ascertain whether the outbreak extends beyond the wedding reception, and Shah explained that the virus has the ability to easily transmit from place to place and from person to person.
“COVID-19 exists everywhere in Maine and can spread really quickly when large groups of people gather for long durations with high density. Anywhere that people can travel across the state the virus can travel alongside with them,” Shah said.