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53 Coronavirus Cases Reportedly Linked To Maine Wedding Reception

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases linked to a wedding reception earlier this month in Maine continues to rise.

At least 53 people have been infected with the virus, officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported over the weekend, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The paper notes that state health investigators have traced both "secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus."

In other words, the virus has spread beyond the people who were at the Aug. 7 wedding reception in Millinocket Lake, located roughly 190 miles northeast of the state's most populous city of Portland.

A Maine CDC spokesperson told the Press Herald that of the 53 cases linked to the wedding reception this month, 13 were secondary and 10 were tertiary. The paper also says that those affected range in age from 4 to 98 years old.

"A woman who did not attend the reception died on Friday after contracting COVID-19 from a person who did attend the event, health authorities said. They did not identify her, nor the guest she came into contact with," the paper reports. The Maine CDC didn't immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

Nearly half the 65 people who attended the reception held at the Big Moose Inn tested positive for the virus, Maine Public Radio reports. Of those 32 cases thought to be linked to the wedding celebration, seven of them were in children under the age of 18, MPR reports.

The station reports the state has issued an imminent health hazard citation to the venue for violating Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' executive order capping the number of people attending an indoor gathering at 50.

A state official told MPR that operators of the Big Moose Inn have agreed to comply with the citation. There is no immediate financial penalty associated with the violation, but there could be a penalty if officials find more evidence of noncompliance, the member station reported.

The Maine CDC first announced it was investigating the COVID-19 outbreak on Aug. 17, when the number of confirmed cases associated with the reception stood at 24.

To date, Maine has had 3,910 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 131 deaths, according to state data.

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Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.