Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020
News Every Day |

1 wedding may undo Maine’s virus fight, officials say

1 wedding may undo Maine’s virus fight, officials say

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A rural church wedding and reception on a beautiful day in the shadow of Mount Katahdin was no doubt a happy day. But it has spread misery ever since.

That single event on Aug. 7 is linked to outbreaks in at least two other locations in Maine, with more than 170 people contracting the virus and seven deaths since.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, said the single event has the power to undo much of the state’s progress during the pandemic. The virus can become “the uninvited guest at every single wedding, party or event in Maine,” he warned.

The “super spreader” event started with wedding attendees in the Katahdin region and spread to the community at large and to a nursing home in Madison. An attendee worked at the York County Jail, 220 miles (355 kilometers) away, where there are more than 70 cases. The state is also investing an outbreak at a church in Sanford, home of the wedding’s officiant.

The ramifications were swift.

Across the state, brides and grooms scrambled as event venues reassessed safety rules during the pandemic. The reception venue lost its business license, briefly, and hired a public relations firm. The pastor hired a law firm that specializes in religious liberty.

The outbreak changed the calculus of state health officials, who urged renewed vigilance in a state that had largely controlled the virus previously, Shah said.

“It is spreading in the community in and around York County with remarkable force,” he said.

The epicenter was an unlikely place. Millinocket is a rural community that serves as gateway to North Woods made famous by Henry David Thoreau. Prior to the wedding, the community had no cases of the coronavirus.

It unfolded on a sunny day in August with a wedding at the Tri Town Baptist Church in East Millinocket and a reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, population 4,400.

There were 65 guests at the Big Moose Inn — violating the state’s 50-person limit for indoor events — and many attendees didn’t wear masks or socially distance from each other, state officials said. Other guests not affiliated with the wedding brought the number to more than 100.

The officiant at the wedding, the Rev. Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, joined several members of his congregation. About 10 of his congregants also have tested positive for the virus. He declined to speak to The Associated Press.

Bell continued to hold services in Sanford and bristled over attacks aimed at him on social media. In one sermon, he urged people to put their trust in God over government and questioned the wisdom of masks, likening their effectiveness to a chain-link fence trying to keep out mosquitoes.

On a video, which is no longer public on YouTube, he said he’s been “reviled” because of the wedding.

Indeed many people have questioned the wisdom of having such a gathering in the midst of a pandemic.

“Tragic is the word for things that we don’t have any control over. In this case, we don’t have control over the virus but this pastor absolutely had the choice whether to perform the wedding,” said the Rev. Erika Hewitt, a Unitarian Universalist in Bath.

Already struggling, Maine’s summer wedding industry tightened rules, forcing people to pare down guest lists, or cancel events altogether.

In Belfast, Thom Roberts nearly blew a gasket when the Boathouse notified his daughter the venue might cancel her wedding.

“We have people already paid for travel arrangements, airline arrangements, rooms, and COVID-19 testing before traveling. Don’t mess with my daughter’s wedding less than a month before it,” he said on social media.

His daughter, Amber, said she’d already reduced her guest list, and informed guests of Maine’s quarantine and testing requirements. Her wedding is outside but she may have to drop more people from an indoor reception.

“I worry and stress out very easily,” said the bride-to-be. “We’re trying very hard to follow their guidelines so we can have a happy day.”

___

Associated Press writer Patrick Whittle contributed to this report.

Source



Read also

Anil Ambani, Once World's 6th Richest Person, Owes $716 Mln to Chinese Banks, Faces Enforcement Act

Tottenham eyeing transfers for Bournemouth’s Josh King and Swiss star Haris Seferovic as Jose Mourinho begs for striker

The Boys viewers left ‘clawing their eyes out’ as character almost choked to death by giant penis during prison breakout



News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro




Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here