State Wedding in Washington Became a COVID-19 Super-Spreader Occasion With 300 Attendees

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According to health officials in Grant and Adams counties in Washingtot, about 40 cases of COVID-19 and two subsequent coronavirus outbreaks are the legacy of a wedding at a private venue near Ritzville that drew more than 300 attendees. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A Wedding Event Gone Wrong

On Tuesday, Grant and Adam counties’ health experts revealed that a wedding event in Washington occurred at a private venue near Ritzville, attended with over 300 guests within and beyond the state. According to official reports, the mass wedding resulted in a spike of COVID-19 infections, originating from the event’s two coronavirus outbreaks and 40 additional positive cases. Adam County reported four new more coronavirus cases, while Grant recorded a tally of almost 40 COVID-19 instances.

Adams County Health Department community director Karen Potts expressed her disappointment with the situation. According to her, the reported mass wedding is something nobody wishes to see in the middle of a coronavirus crisis.

What Happened at the Wedding?

Potts revealed that the wedding happened on November 7. The celebration took place at one of Adam County’s large agricultural infrastructures, holding the reception indoors. According to Potts, interrogated witnesses confirmed that it was a usual gathering that consisted of drinks, food, and dancing activities. The party lasted for 5-6 hours long. Moreover, she mentioned that there were enough available masks for everyone who attended to wear inside the venue. However, not every guest adhered to getting one.

Grant County medical experts posted their announcement on Facebook to help reach out to the 300 guests who attended the said wedding event. According to them, attendees who went to the November 7 wedding celebration should undergo self-quarantine measures until November 21 and get tested for COVID-19 infections. The health officials took it up on social media since many of the involved individuals come from different parts of the state. The local health department would most unlikely reach them all in person.

Washington’s Newly Imposed COVID-19 Restrictions

This week, government officials prohibit indoor wedding celebrations regardless of people’s capacity across the Washington state. Additionally, no more than 30 attendees can attend wedding ceremonies. The previously mentioned rules would observe strict implementations.

On Sunday, Governor Jay Inslee instructed shutdowns of fitness centers and indoor gyms within the state. He also required bars and diners to limit outdoor celebrations to only five or fewer party guests and cancel indoor dining services. Entertainment establishments such as museums, movie theaters, and bowling alleys are also affected by the legislation. Additionally, indoor functions with outsiders are banned, except for those who tested negative for the coronavirus and quarantined themselves for 14 days. According to Inslee, the newly imposed regulations attempt to address Washington’s latest surge of coronavirus cases.

Inslee admitted that for the rest of Washington’s 100-year medical history, November 15 of this year marks the state’s riskiest public health day. Moreover, he reminded residents that a pandemic is still ongoing across the country and if left mismanaged, hospitals and morgues would suffer the consequences of the overwhelming spike in COVID-19 cases. Inslee also added that halting the coronavirus’s spread could also help non-COVID-19 patients receive proper medication and medical staff treatment when needed. Additionally, he clarified that the latest legislation would last up to four weeks, hoping for positive progress to reduce said restrictions.

Health Experts’ Precautions Toward Future Wedding Events

Meanwhile, Grant County health administrators encourage wedding planners, regardless of the county, to have logbooks for participants attending a wedding event. Additionally, the organizers should keep the logs to aid in searching for potential COVID-19 victims in case of another surge of infections. The Grant County Health District also urges wedding attendees to undergo coronavirus testing after going to the occasion. According to health officials, getting tested after attending a wedding celebration could help contribute to the safety of family members, friends, and neighboring communities.

The reported Washington wedding is not the only one that caused a sudden spike of COVID-19 cases within the country. A rural Maine wedding held in August of this year resulted in at least seven deaths and over 170 additional coronavirus cases.