A summer wedding in southwest Minnesota is the source of at least 70 coronavirus cases, said Kris Ehresmann, director of state infectious diseases on Wednesday.
The number rose from 58 on Friday to 70 at the last count, she said via email.
The wedding, reception and “dance” took place on August 22nd at KB’s Bar and Grill in the small town of Ghent, Southwest Health and Human Services said in a statement.
Ehresmann described the celebrations as “inside” and said they exceeded state capacities and social distancing rules.
In late August, Southwest Health and Human Services urged participants and their close contacts to voluntarily quarantine themselves.
At a press conference last week, Ehresmann expressed concern that participants were not taking the situation seriously enough. “We hear that people are not being tested so as not to increase the numbers,”
Those who avoid being tested “only make it worse” because they could unknowingly infect others, Ehresmann said. “Neither of us is an island,” she said.
The state Department of Health is unable to track secondary broadcasts related to the wedding and other events, such as the Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally that saw 51 cases in Minnesota, state officials said during their latest news conference on Wednesday.
They suggested that the department have its hands full pursuing only cases that are directly related to non-compliant events.
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Ehresmann said the department continues to track patients who attended the wedding. Among them are people spanning nine Minnesota counties, including “educators, nurses and health workers,” she said.
Governor Tim Walz said last week that indoor and outdoor social gatherings are contributing to an above-average number of cases in the state.
“Families don’t mingle in their immediate family,” he said. “Exactly what we see affects some of the diffusion.”
The state has counted 81,868 COVID-19 cases and 1,869 deaths.
Health officials in Maine said an August 7 wedding in Penobscot County was the source of at least 147 coronavirus cases, including secondary infections. Three deaths have been linked to the wedding, which was attended by 65 people, according to the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention.