At least seven care home residents died after staff members attended a wedding with more than 300 people, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Seven men between the ages of 70 to 90 with underlying health conditions died at three care homes in Grant County, Washington, after contracting Covid-19 last month, according to a press release from the Grant County Health District.
At least four other fatalities from the care homes are pending death certificate reviews, according to NBC News.
The health department revealed that it is investigating whether the multiple deaths are linked to a wedding attended by around 300 people, which took place in the state in early November.
It said that some members of staff from the care homes tested positive for coronavirus a few days after the wedding, but had continued to work following the event.
The agency said that it did not know for certain if those who tested positive Covid-19 infected the residents, because staff take care of entire units, meaning that direct contact with patients is unknown.
In a press release last month, the health department said that the wedding was linked to at least 40 cases of coronavirus, following outbreaks at a school and a care home facility.
The more than 300 guests were instructed to quarantine and get tested for Covid-19.
At the time of the event, weddings in the state were limited to a capacity of 30 people, due to Washington governor Jay Inslee’s executive order.
In a statement on Thursday, the Grant County Health District wrote: “Our most vulnerable community members — elderly, immunocompromised, and those with chronic conditions — are especially at risk of complications due to a Covid-19 infection.”
The agency added: “We must continue to take measures to protect them from this disease. The best way to do that is by staying home as much as possible.
“Your choice to gather with those outside your household could lead to additional cases of Covid-19 and even death. Please protect those you love, by staying home.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Washington has recorded more than 184,000 coronavirus cases and at least 3,065 deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 14.5 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 281,206.
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