A 300-person wedding in Washington state has been linked to more than a dozen coronavirus cases and “two subsequent outbreaks,” health officials said.
The wedding ceremony was held on Nov. 7 in a private location near Ritzville about 59 miles southwest of Spokane.
The Grant County Health District did not release details about the wedding but said in a Facebook post on Monday that 17 people associated with the wedding tested positive for Covid-19 and that more cases are being added daily. There have also been two subsequent outbreaks linked to guests at the wedding who tested positive for Covid-19.
Officials urged all wedding attendees to get tested and to quarantine.
“We are very thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home. This helps protect their friends, coworkers, and communities from this illness,” district administrator Theresa Adkinson said in a statement.
Health officials said it is very unlikely they will be able to reach every guest because people from many communities attended the ceremony.
“Due to the multi-jurisdictional impact of this large event, GCHD felt it was necessary to notify the public,” the agency said.
On Sunday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced tighter restrictions as coronavirus cases in the state continued to rise. As of Monday, the Washington state health department reported 131,532 confirmed cases, according to a Covid-19 dashboard.
Under the governor’s restrictions, wedding ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and indoor receptions or similar gatherings are prohibited.
The health department said in its Facebook post that wedding organizers should keep a record of attendees and keep that log for at least two weeks.
“Superspreader” wedding ceremonies and receptions have been linked to several outbreaks in other states. At least eight people have died and more than 100 were infected following an August wedding in Millinocket, Maine.
And in New York, a wedding and birthday party led to more than 50 infections and nearly 300 people in quarantine.
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said the birthday party in Bellport had about 50 attendees and did not violate emergency state health codes, but showed how quickly the virus can spread when social distancing rules aren’t followed.
The wedding held on Oct. 17 at North Folk Country Club in Cutchogue, Long Island, was in violation of the state’s rule allowing no more than 50 people in a room.
The venue was issued a $17,000 fine, according to officials.
“This kind of blatant disregard for the well being of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated,” Bellone said at a news conference about the wedding.