The number of COVID-19 cases that state investigators have traced back to an Aug. 7 wedding in the Katahdin region continues to rise, after 9 additional cases were reported Wednesday in connection with secondary outbreaks at the York County Jail and Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison.
A total of 143 cases have now been linked to the wedding, making it the state’s largest and most far-reaching outbreak of COVID-19. The figure includes 74 cases at the York County Jail — more than 200 miles to the south in Alfred — according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The new total number of cases linked to the wedding outbreak is up from Tuesday’s count of 134 associated cases, including 66 at the jail.
The jail’s outbreak has spread to 38 inmates, 19 people who work in the jail’s building and 17 household members of those 19 individuals, said Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long. A guest of the Aug. 7 wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn on Millinocket Lake works at the jail and was one of the first people to test positive in that facility’s outbreak.
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State officials have also now detected 13 infections at Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison, among seven residents and six staff. An employee of the facility caught the infection from a parent, who caught it from another one of their children who attended the wedding, according to state officials.
Health investigators are still trying to determine whether there is an additional link between a separate outbreak of COVID-19 that has infected at least five people at Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, whose pastor officiated the Aug. 7 wedding in East Millinocket.
Todd Bell, the pastor, has brushed off scrutiny of his role in the outbreaks and spread misinformation about the virus. A day after the outbreak was announced at his church, he delivered an in-person sermon following a hymn sung by a 15-person maskless choir, despite public health guidance that close contact and singing are some of the most effective ways to spread the coronavirus.