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Minnesota wedding now linked to 75 COVID-19 cases

More than a quarter of the attendees have been infected, according to state health officials.

At least 75 people who attended a wedding in southwest Minnesota have developed COVID-19 symptoms, according to an update Thursday from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

The wedding took place Aug. 22 in Ghent, Lyon County, according to Southwest Health and Human Services, which notes that the wedding, reception and dance were held indoors at KB’s Bar and Grill. 

MDH has said up to 275 guests attended the wedding – exceeding the state's health guidance of limiting gatherings to a maximum of 250 people – and that masks were not worn by many guests despite the celebration being held indoors, where aerosol transmission of the virus is more prevalent. 

"This is the largest event we’ve seen pertaining to disease transmission for a social event,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the MDH. 

One attendee has been hospitalized with COVID-19 and the median age of those with infections is 25; ages range from 10 to 84 years old. 

"We are aware that many of the individuals who attended the event and have developed COVID work in healthcare and education but we have not yet identified secondary spread," said Ehresmann. 

Last week, Ehresmann suggested that positive cases from the wedding may well be an undercount, as the MDH believes some attendees are not getting tested in order to keep local cases low so schools stay open – an issue she said is also happening in other instances in Minnesota. 

"Of course, failing to acknowledge a problem does not make that problem go away," Ehresmann said, adding that it increases the risk of the virus spreading undetected in the community, prolonging the outbreak.

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