At least 17 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to a wedding held in the Washington countryside earlier this month, a possible COVID-19 super-spread event that forced health officials to implore all 300 attendees to put in quarantine.
The Grant County Health District confirmed to the Daily Beast on Wednesday that at least 17 people have contracted COVID-19 as part of the November 7 wedding near Ritzville, Wash. – a rural town in eastern Washington with a population of only 1,649. Officials say the marriage has since caused an increase in COVID-19 in the region and they expect more cases in the coming days.
The Washington Department of Health is now asking all wedding participants to get tested and self-quarantined until November 21.
“We are very grateful to the participants who have come in for testing and are staying at home. It helps protect their friends, colleagues and communities from this disease, ”district administrator Theresa Adkinson said in a statement, adding that even if the health department tries to educate participants, it is unlikely that they can reach everyone.
Under current COVID-19 restrictions, wedding ceremonies in Washington are limited to “a total of no more than 30 people.”
Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Sunday banned indoor and outdoor gatherings with more than five people from different households in a bid to reduce the recent spike in COVID-19 cases that sparked a ‘third wave’ transmission in the state.
“A pandemic is raging in our state,” Inslee said on Sunday, while announcing a slew of new COVID-19 restrictions. “Left unchecked, seriously overcrowded hospitals and morgues will result; and preventing people from getting routine but necessary medical treatment for illnesses unrelated to COVID. “
The new regulations, which will be in place for at least a month, also include a ban on indoor dining, bars and gyms, along with a warning from Inslee that failure to follow these recommendations by Mitigation for the holiday season could have catastrophic effects on the state and its already overwhelmed health care system. To date, 2,548 have died and 131, 532 others have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the State Department of Health.
“Time is running out here; what we do know is that if you act early you can save lives and if you don’t you will be overwhelmed by a tsunami of the virus, ”Inslee said. “It’s in our hands, we decide if this pandemic is going to engulf us all.”
And although few details of the Ritzville wedding have been released, the ceremony is now one of many to spark a major outbreak. In August, a wedding in Maine resulted in at least 177 cases and the deaths of eight people who did not attend the event, according to the CDC. In New York City, a wedding and birthday party also led to more than 50 positive cases and nearly 300 in quarantine.
To combat the spread in Washington, the Grant County Health District is now urging wedding planners in any county to keep a diary of attendees in case a future outbreak occurs.
“Our personal decisions affect the health of our family, friends and communities,” Grant County Health District said.
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