Death Toll Is at Least 7 After Rule-Breaking Wedding

Employees of nursing homes were among the 300 celebrating
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2020 9:32 AM CST
After Wedding for 300, 7 Deaths Are Reported
One person waits as another is tested for the coronavirus at a free testing site last month in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

An investigation—and contact tracing—began immediately after positive tests started to show up among the 300 people who attended a wedding last month in Washington state. The toll is starting to become clear. Seven residents of three nursing homes who had COVID-19 have died since employees at the homes went to the Ritzville wedding, NBC reports. And death certificate reviews are pending for another four people who died. The seven had underlying health conditions, Grant County said, and were all men in their 70s through 90s. Statewide coronavirus restrictions limit wedding receptions to 30 people.

Direct connections between the deaths and the wedding are not yet made, the county health department said in a statement. But nursing home staff members were among the guests, and some of them tested positive. "They care for all residents so it will not be known which cases are tied to the staff," a health official said, per ABC. About 40 coronavirus cases have been confirmed so far among the 300 people at the Nov. 7 wedding, which an official said was a super-spreader event. "You have a lot of people indoors, close together," she said. Grant County has had 54 COVID-19 deaths overall, per KCPQ, 26 of them in November. (Guests—and the happy couple—tested positive after an Ohio wedding.)

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