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123 coronavirus cases now linked to indoor wedding reception in Maine

An indoor wedding and reception in Maine earlier this month has been linked to at least 123 coronavirus cases. The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) said the wedding has led to COVID-19 outbreaks at both a jail and a nursing home. 

The Maine CDC confirmed to CBS News on Saturday that the number of positive cases associated with the event has again climbed, to 123. 

The number of cases at York County Jail in Alfred has risen by 36 since Thursday, for a total of 54 cases — 35 inmates and 19 staff. The number of cases at Maple Crest Rehabilitation Center remains nine. 

The wedding has been linked to one death last week from the virus. 

Big Moose Inn had its lodging and dining license re-instated on Friday after a temporary suspension earlier this week, the Maine CDC confirmed. Officials said the inn had failed to implement social distancing guidelines, limit the size of gatherings and ask customers for contact tracing information. 

Sixty-five people attended the wedding on August 7, exceeding the state's 50-person gathering limit.

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"If you fail to comply with the governor's executive orders and the DECD checklist, then the department will immediately re-instate the temporary suspension of your license, which may lead to court action seeking a longer suspension or full revocation of your license, potential fines and payment of attorney fees incurred by the department," the Department of Health and Human Services told the inn in a written letter Friday. 

Laurie Cormier, the owner of the Big Moose Inn, released a statement Friday for the first time since the incident. 

"Our hearts go out to the family, those affected by the virus who were at the wedding, and those who have been impacted since then," Cormier wrote in part, according to WAGM. "There is no doubt that this virus is dangerous with wide-ranging impacts. We too are deeply saddened and frustrated by the many devastating impacts of COVID-19. This is a challenging time for all of us."

Cormier said the inn misinterpreted capacity guidelines, but that staff members are required to wear masks and screen guests' temperatures upon arrival. She added that the inn is updating its protocols to ensure safety during future events. 

"The Big Moose Inn is a family-owned business. We have taken the pandemic seriously, followed the rules as we have understood them, and gone above and beyond those rules to try and keep our guests, staff, and community safe. While we cannot be sure the virus was fully spread at our facility, we know that there are things that we can be doing better."

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