Adams Co. ‘superspreader’ wedding infects more than 40 people across Eastern WA
ADAMS CO., Wash. — A wedding with more than 300 people in Adams County near Ritzville has become a “superspreader” event, infecting people in the community who weren’t even there.
More and more cases are being traced back to that wedding, which was held on November 7. Right now, it’s up to 40 cases in Grant County alone.
The Adams County Health Department said that the wedding was held in a hangar used for potatoes. It’s in between Ritzville and Moses Lake — kind of out in the middle of nowhere. And though it was held in Adams County, those COVID-19 cases are spreading quickly to other counties.
Wedding ceremonies are currently limited to 30 people, but this one had more than 300 people in attendance. According to the Grant County Health District, the wedding was hosted by Grant County residents.
“It was just a farm location. Kind of out in the middle of nowhere,” described Karen Potts, Adams County Health Department’s community health director. “My understanding is the families involved are from Othello, and there were probably individuals invited from many different counties, at least that’s the information that we received.”
This is the invitation the Health Department released today, inviting people to the wedding:
“Well, our first thought is this is exactly the kind of event that we’re trying to prevent from taking place,” said Potts.
As of Tuesday, Grant County has linked 40 COVID cases to the wedding — the original outbreak. Officials have also identified two subsequent outbreaks.
One is at a long-term care facility and the other is a school district. The health district said there is a direct link from someone who went to the wedding or a close contact.
“At this point in the investigation it is premature to state how many cases have resulted from these outbreaks, due to pending testing and case investigations,” the district said in a press release Tuesday evening.
Health officials also said because of the surge in new cases, they’re not able to complete all contact tracing right now.
“This is the kind of thing that really is what they refer to as a super spreader,” said Potts. “You have a lot of people indoors, close together.”
Adams County has reported three cases linked to the wedding so far. Of the 1,185 cases in Adams County, 1,111 came from Othello.
“Right now, Adams County — our number is over 1,000 per 100,000 for 14 days. That’s incredibly high,” Potts explained.
In Grant County, nearly 3,800 have tested positive. 1,449 of those cases are connected to Moses Lake residents.
“And so this sort of event is very frustrating to public health because it increases those numbers. It makes our job a lot harder,” said Potts.
Even though that wedding was held 10 days ago, the Adams County Health Department said that anybody who attended should get tested and quarantine for a full 14 days.
4 News Now reached out to the surrounding county health districts to see if any cases have been linked to the wedding.
Spokane Regional Health and the Benton-Franklin Health District in the Tri-Cities have no cases linked to the wedding at this time.
When asked if someone can be fined for having the wedding, Potts said it can be reported to the Department of Labor and Industries and she believes fines can be imposed on the people who own the building.
Medical Teams International will be offering free testing in Grant and Adams Counties. The locations are below:
- Wednesday, Nov. 18: Wahluke High School, 1-7 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 19: Othello Church of the Nazarene, 1-7 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 20: Othello Church of the Nazarene, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
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