Fifth COVID-19 Fatality Linked to Maine Wedding As Pastor Gets Death Threats

More than 160 coronavirus cases, including five deaths, have been linked to a wedding and reception in the Millinocket area of Maine, according to the state's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Four of the five COVID-19 deaths were reported at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center, a nursing home in the town of Madison in Somerset County. The virus was allegedly introduced to the nursing home after a worker contracted it from a parent, who was infected by a child who attended the August wedding, according to Maine's WGME.

The Maine CDC says that, as of Sunday, 13 staff members and 15 residents have also been infected at the facility.

The pastor who officiated the wedding, Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, and his family have reportedly received death threats, with criminal investigations pending, Maine's WMTW reported.

This past weekend, the Maine CDC also confirmed the deaths of two Somerset County women in their eighties due to novel coronavirus complications but declined to confirm whether the women were residents of the Madison nursing home, Maine's WGME reported.

These latest cases form one of two outbreaks linked to the wedding. Another string of infections connected to the wedding was reported at York County Jail. The facility reported 48 inmates, 18 workers and 17 household members of the workers were infected after an employee who attended the wedding introduced the virus to the facility, the Maine CDC confirmed, leaving the number of cases linked to the wedding outbreak at approximately 160.

Pastor Bell has hired attorneys from the Florida-based National Center for Life and Liberty in a bid to protect the church, should it be sued by the government, WMTW reported.

The local Bangor Daily News said that the attorneys had confirmed the church was working with law enforcement about the threats.

The recent outbreaks bring the total cases in Maine to 4,863, with 2,251 infections reported to be in Cumberland County, according to the latest report Sunday from the Maine CDC.

The three-day moving average of daily new cases in Maine has been on an upward trend in the two-week period from August 29 to September 11, including a sharp rise from September 8 to 11, according to the latest report Sunday by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Data from JHU suggests that the average daily new infections in Maine have been mostly declining since May 21, when it peaked at 69, before slightly flattening out from mid-July to early September.

Portland, Maine, street, protesters, September 2018
Protesters gathered on a street in Portland, Maine in September 2018. More than 160 COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding held in Maine back in August this summer. Sarah Rice/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 29 million people across the globe, including in excess of 6.5 million in the U.S. Nearly 924,700 people have died following infection, while over 19.6 million people have reportedly recovered, as of Monday, according to the latest JHU study.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates U.S. states with the most COVID-19 cases.

Spread of COVID-19 cases in U.S.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrate the spread of COVID-19 cases across the globe.

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