At least 28 people associated with a wedding reception held on Aug. 7 at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket have tested positive for COVID-19.

Eighteen of those individuals attended the reception and another 10 had close contact with attendees, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. All are Maine residents.

“Maine CDC continues to conduct case investigations and contact tracing for guests, staff, and people who potentially came in close contact with confirmed cases during and after the event,” the agency said in a news release Monday. “Anyone who attended an event at Big Moose Inn on August 7, 2020, and who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call their health care provider before seeking medical care.”

Approximately 65 people attended the event. It wasn’t clear if the reception was held indoors or outside, but current state restrictions call for gatherings to be limited to 50 people inside and 100 people outside. Face coverings are also supposed to be worn in public settings when physical distancing is not possible.

The Maine CDC said it is in contact with Big Moose Inn about the nature of the event and adherence to state requirements. Director Dr. Nirav Shah is expected to address the outbreak during a briefing Tuesday.

Pedestrians walk along a closed off portion of Exchange Street in Portland on Saturday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A message left with the manager of the Big Moose Inn was not returned Monday.

Robert Peterson, CEO of Millinocket Regional Hospital, said all the individuals who have tested positive so far are being treated as out-patients and have not required hospitalization. Peterson also said testing was ongoing at the hospital’s main campus and at a satellite clinic in East Millinocket and he expected the number of cases to increase. Everyone who attended the wedding who has not been tested is being asked to quarantine for 14 days.

“As our situation continues to evolve, so will our response,” he said. “We will be constantly monitoring the data and catering our response accordingly.”

Although summer in Maine is typically a busy time for weddings, the pandemic has forced many couples to postpone their events. Still, this is the second known outbreak associated with a wedding. Six out-of-state guests who attended a private wedding in Castine in June tested positive.

Some of the cases in Millinocket were included in the 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced Monday, bringing the cumulative total to 4,197. Another 14 people were listed as recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 3,638. There were no new deaths, so that number holds at 127. Subtracting the recoveries and fatal cases from the total number of infections leaves the state with 432 active cases, an increase of 14 since Sunday.

Of the 29 new cases reported Monday, 14 were in Penobscot County, which has seen a rise in detected cases over the past several days. Again, some of that increase could be tied to the wedding in Millinocket.

Statewide, the seven-day average of new cases stood at 22 on Monday, up from the seven-day average of 15 cases on Aug. 9 but still well below the numbers that have been seen in other states. The number of people hospitalized stood at 10, an increase of one case since Sunday. Three patients were in critical care beds and one was connected to a ventilator.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: