The number of COVID-19 cases confirmed as stemming from a single wedding in southwest Minnesota has risen to 56, Minnesota Department of Health officials announced Thursday.
The state's Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann said during a press conference that the wedding was attended by 275 people (larger than the state's limit of 250 for large events), was held indoors (where aerosol transmission is easier), and masks were not worn by guests.
While the location of the wedding was not confirmed by Ehresmann, MDH announced last week it was investigating a "cluster" of COVID-19 cases from a wedding held in Ghent, Lyon County.
The 56 cases linked to the wedding are spread across nine counties.
Furthermore, Ehresmann says that the positive cases may well be an undercount, as the department believes that some of those who attended the wedding are not getting themselves tested in order to keep local cases low so that schools stay open.
She continued to say that people avoiding getting tested to keep local cases artificially low so that schools stay open isn't limited to this instance, and is happening elsewhere.
"Of course, failing to acknowledge a problem does not make that problem go away," she said, adding that it increases the risk of the virus spreading undetected in the community, prolonging the outbreak.