A coronavirus outbreak at the York County Jail that has been linked with an Aug. 7 wedding in the Millinocket area has grown to 54 cases, the county sheriff said Friday.
Thirty-five inmates are now infected, said York County Sheriff William King, as well as 16 corrections officers, two other county government employees and one staffer from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services assigned to the York County Jail.
The jail is still awaiting the results of about 85 tests, the sheriff said.
A jail employee attended the wedding earlier this month and was among the first at the jail to test positive, state health officials said earlier this week.
The facility had 99 inmates as of July 31, according to Maine Department of Corrections data, which was down more than a third from the 156 inmates the jail held in early March, just before the start of the pandemic.
Maine’s county jails shrank their inmate populations by 40 percent in the first seven weeks of the pandemic to reduce the risk that COVID-19 would spread behind bars. But jail populations started rising again in May, and were only about 19 percent smaller at the beginning of August than at the start of March.
The York County Jail reached its lowest inmate population, 70, in late April.
The latest cases at the jail bring the total number of cases linked to the Aug. 7 wedding to 123.
Correctional facilities have been the sites of some of the nation’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks. For much of the pandemic, however, Maine largely avoided that fate. It has recorded only four cases in the state prison system, all at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. Last month, the state saw a small outbreak at the Cumberland County Jail.
The wedding outbreak has also spread to a rehabilitation center in Madison after an employee became infected by a parent who had interacted with another child who attended the wedding.