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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — At least seven people have died in connection to a coronavirus outbreak that continues to sicken people in Maine following a wedding reception held over the summer that violated state virus guidelines, public health authorities said.

The August wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket is linked to more than 175 confirmed cases of the virus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Maine authorities have identified overlaps between the wedding reception and outbreaks elsewhere in the state. An employee of the York County Jail attended the wedding, Maine CDC officials have said. Maine health officials have also said an outbreak at a Madison rehabilitation center, which is the site of six of the seven deaths, is connected to the wedding because an employee of the facility lives in the same household as a person who attended.

The virus cases stemming from the wedding have spanned hundreds of miles in a state that had largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus through the summer. Maine has reported less than 5,000 cases of the virus in total since March.

But the growing number of cases related to the wedding, which exceeded the state’s guidelines of 50 people or less at indoor gatherings, could undo some of that progress if it continues to swell. Authorities have said more than 65 people attended the wedding.

The six people from the Madison rehabilitation facility who died were all residents of that facility and none of them attended the wedding reception, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC.

“Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. COVID-19, right now, is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards,” Shah said. “The gains that Maine has made against COVID-19 are ones that could, and unfortunately can, be washed away.”

The wedding was also officiated by pastor Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford. The Maine CDC is currently investigating to determine if an outbreak at the church is connected to the wedding outbreak. That outbreak has sickened 10 people, Shah said.

Calvary Baptist Church issued a statement on Tuesday that said “a number of Calvary Baptist Church members attended” the wedding reception. The statement said the church is taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus, and it will defend its right to continue holding services.

“The Calvary Baptist Church has a legal right to meet. The authority of a local Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, or a Muslim mosque to gather for their respective religious services is a time-honored part of our nation’s history since its inception,” the statement said. “These religious activities are also fully protected under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.”

Bell has been critical of government attempts to control coronavirus, and videos show he has held services without the use of social distancing. He hired a lawyer known nationally for defending the religious rights of churches.

Neither Bell nor the attorney working with the church, David Gibbs of Florida, personally responded to a request Tuesday for comment.

Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long said the agency’s investigations suggest “multiple potential points of transmission related to the August 7 wedding and reception.” The agency is working to limit the spread of the virus and support people affected by it, he said.

Shah said the state’s percent positivity rate has ticked up to 0.63% for the previous seven days. At one point, the rate was less than half a percentage point. The rate remains well below the national average of about 5%, Shah said.
Associated Press writer David Sharp contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that an employee of the Madison facility lives in a household with someone who attended the wedding. The employee did not attend.

(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Bride whose wedding RBG officiated is getting blamed for her death

After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday at age 87, it wasn’t long before people recalled that she officiated a wedding not even three weeks ago.


Ginsburg officiated the outdoor wedding of family friends Barb Solish and Danny Kazin on Aug. 30.


The bride, Solish, tweeted out a photo of Ginsburg standing behind the couple during their nuptials. “2020 has been rough, but yesterday was Supreme,” she wrote in the caption to accompany the photo.

Ginsburg and the couple, who all failed to wear face coverings, were criticized for the wedding, which was held in the middle of a pandemic. Experts have cautioned that weddings—even smaller ones—can easily become superspreader events. One Maine wedding alone was reportedly linked to the deaths of seven people who didn’t even attend it. Solish was forced to note on Twitter that both she and Kazin previously “tested negative” for the coronavirus, and a court spokesperson issued a statement to clarify the ceremony was held at a private residence.

When Ginsburg officiated the wedding, the state of her health was already a subject of interest. Ginsburg was hospitalized in July for a procedure unrelated to cancer, according to the New York Post. That same month, she announced that she began undergoing chemotherapy in early 2020 for cancerous lesions on her liver, according to TIME.


At the time of Solish’s posting, Twitter users warned her: “People will come for you if anything happens to her.”

And so they did.

While it hasn’t been confirmed if Ginsburg’s death has anything to do with the coronavirus, Solish and Kazin are now getting blamed for “murdering RBG.”


“How dare this couple risked her fragile health for a photo-op. Hope they are happy now,” on user tweeted.

“You did this. This is on you,” another wrote.

This aged well! Congrats on murdering RBG!

— ok bitch (@lghackjob) September 18, 2020 Hide

Whether or not covid was a factor at all, theres a good chance any future history books which talk about rbg will have to mention @barbsolish in the context of "while it was never officially confirmed, many speculated that attending the wedding during the covid19 pandemic…"

— ????️‍⚧️whilom???????? (@whilom23) September 19, 2020 Hide

lol, i mean it’s a lot of gall to post this in the middle of a pandemic in the first place in but you in danger now, @barbsolish lol

— business bitch (@shrugemoji) September 18, 2020

Hope you’re proud of yourself

— Nick ???? (@Nickm575) September 18, 2020 Hide

Both Kazin and Solish apparently ended up locking their Twitter accounts.

Tfw you killed RBG

— devin (@devvinnnnn) September 18, 2020 Hide

The Daily Dot has reached out to Barb Solish.

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