The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak linked to a wedding reception in Maine has risen to five, with the number of cases connected to the event up to over 175.
The latest death was reported at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center in Madison, where three prior deaths were also deemed connected to the Aug. 7 reception.
About 65 people attended the reception at the Big Moose Inn Cabins and Campground in Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor.
Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order limits indoor gatherings to 50 people and outdoor gatherings to 100 and fewer if the space cannot accommodate five people per 1,000 feet, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said.
A person who answered the phone Tuesday at Big Moose Inn said they are not commenting.
None of the five people who have died attended the wedding or the reception.
But among those who did attend the event was an employee of the York County Jail, where 72 cases have been linked to the gathering, health officials have said.
Maine health officials have also said the wedding and reception are tied to the virus’ spread at a Madison rehabilitation center.
And, the state is investigating whether an outbreak at Calvary Baptist Church, whose pastor officiated at the wedding, is linked to the event. The church is tied to at least 10 cases.
In a statement Tuesday, the church said a number of its members attended the wedding reception and it defended 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.
The number of cases stemming from the wedding reception has steadily grown.
In August, health officials said they had identified 18 people who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the event. Another six people who had close contact with those attendees also tested positive, according to a state press release on Aug. 17.
By the first week of September, nearly 150 cases and three deaths were linked to the event.
State health officials did not immediately release details on the fifth death. Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Associated Press contributed.