300-Person Washington Wedding Linked To 17 Infections, Two Additional Outbreaks

Topline

 A 300-person wedding in Washington State has caused at least 17 infections and two subsequent outbreaks from attendees, health officials said Tuesday, in the latest example of a “superspreader wedding.”

Key Facts

The Nov. 7 wedding in Ritzville violated state health orders limiting wedding ceremonies to 30 people.

Grant County health officials said they are trying to notify attendees about their potential exposure, but since the event was so large, they conceded local health jurisdictions are unlikely to reach them all. 

Anyone who attended the wedding is being asked to self-quarantine until November 21.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put further restrictions on weddings this week as coronavirus cases continue to rise, banning indoor receptions of any kind in conjunction with ceremonies. 

Big Number

117%. That’s how much the daily count of new Covid-19 cases in Washington has increased over the past 14 days, according to CovidExitStrategy.

Key Background

Several weddings across the country have been responsible for large outbreaks. A 55-person August wedding in Maine ended with half the guests contracting the virus, which then led to an outbreak involving 177 people and seven deaths. And a country club in Long Island had its liquor license revoked after it hosted a 113-person wedding that resulted in 34 infections among guests and venue employees.

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300-person wedding in Washington state leads to at least 17 coronavirus cases

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.

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Washington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding

A county in Washington is advising attendees of a large wedding to get tested for COVID-19 after at least 17 people in attendance tested positive.



a group of people sitting in chairs: Washington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding


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Washington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding

More than 300 people attended a wedding held at a private location near Ritzville on Nov. 7, the Grant County Health District (GCHD) said on Tuesday. Under current coronavirus restrictions, wedding ceremonies in Washington state are limited to 30 people.

GCHD said there have been 17 new cases associated with the event to date, with more being added daily. Attendees who were diagnosed with the virus have also been linked to two subsequent outbreaks.

“We are very thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home,” GCHD Administrator Theresa Adkinson said in a statement. “This helps protect their friends, coworkers, and communities from this illness.”

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has unveiled new coronavirus restrictions that went into effect Monday at 11:59 p.m., the most extreme action Inslee has taken since issuing a stay-at-home order in March.

Under the new measures, parties are limited to no more than five people and gatherings inside a single household are prohibited unless attendees test negative and quarantine for one week.

Washington broke its record for the most cases reported in a day on Thursday, when it reported 3,300 new cases. So far, the state has seen 131,532 cumulative cases and 2,548 deaths.

Outbreaks in multiple states have been linked to weddings, including in Maine, when an indoor wedding held on Aug. 7 was linked to 176 confirmed cases and at least seven deaths.

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