At least 17 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a wedding in Washington state with more than 300 guests, health officials said, a crowd more than 10 times what is allowed.
The COVID-19 outbreak from the Nov. 7 wedding has also been linked to two additional outbreaks, and county health officials are asking everyone who attended the unsanctioned celebration to self-quarantine to prevent any more infections.
“[The Grant County Health District] is trying to notify attendees about possible exposure, but with more than 300 people attending the wedding from many communities, local health jurisdictions are unlikely to reach them all,” the agency said in a statement.
The health district also said additional cases linked to the wedding were “being added daily.”
The alert from the Grant County Health District comes as the US heads into a third wave of COVID-19 infections, with the US reporting more than 11.2 million cases and more than 247,000 deaths in total as of Tuesday.
The number of cases across the country is surging in every state in the US as the country approaches the holiday season. Health officials are urging people to continue avoiding social gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In Grant County, wedding ceremonies are limited to 30 people. As of Tuesday, local officials have completely prohibited any indoor ceremonies.
It’s not the first time that a wedding flouting local limits on gatherings has been linked to outbreaks of the deadly virus.
In August, a wedding reception attended by about 65 people in Maine was linked to one death and 52 COVID-19 cases. The wedding was in violation of the state’s 50-person limit on indoor gatherings.
Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, some states and local jurisdictions have started to reinstate restrictive measures hoping to curb the spread of the virus. Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine established an inspection unit to make sure businesses were complying with mask requirements. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants, bars, and gyms.
On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state was “pulling the emergency brake,” and expanded an order that now requires a face mask when people are outside their home.
In Grant County, officials asked that anyone who attended the wedding to quarantine until Nov. 21 to avoid any further spread of the virus. The county also asked that anyone who was planning on attending a large event to get tested for COVID-19 at least five to seven days beforehand.
“Our personal decisions affect the health of our family, friends, and communities and it is now more critical than before to use all known COVID-19 precautions,” the agency said.