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Huge coronavirus outbreak at Maine jail linked to indoor wedding reception

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A coronavirus outbreak at a Maine jail has now been linked to a recent wedding that left at least 60 people infected with COVID-19. According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), 18 cases at the York County Jail in Alfred are the direct result of the wedding reception. 

Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of Main CDC, said during a news conference Tuesday that a staff member at the jail attended the August 7 wedding and was one of the first people at the jail to test positive. Seven inmates, nine jail staff members and two York County government employees in the same complex have tested positive for the virus since, Shah said.  

The indoor wedding reception at Big Moose Inn in Millinocket is now responsible for 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including one death last week. Twenty-two of those cases are primary, meaning people who attended the wedding, 14 are secondary, or people who had close contact with attendees and 24 are tertiary, people who had close contact with a secondary case. 

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According to Shah, the wedding also led to an outbreak at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center in Madison, where four residents and two staff members tested positive. An attendee of the wedding infected their parent, who then infected another one of their children, who works at the center and infected five other people — all in the span of two and a half weeks. 

"These recent examples are restaurant-quality pieces of information that demonstrate how aggressive and opportunistic this virus is and how quickly it can move from one community to another even if those communities are miles apart," Shah said. 

"What we've learned about COVID-19 is that it can be the uninvited guest at every single wedding, party or event in Maine," he added. "The virus is where we are, and then it comes home with us."

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