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7 nursing home Covid-19 deaths reported after staff attended wedding

The dead were at 3 facilities, Washington state health officials said. Four other fatalities are being reviewed for possible links to the 300-person party.

Seven Washington state nursing home residents with Covid-19 died after staff members attended a 300-person wedding that violated the governor's coronavirus restrictions.

The deaths were at three nursing home facilities in Grant County, health officials said Thursday. They were men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who had underlying health conditions, according to a press release by the Grant County Health District.

Four additional deaths are pending death certificate reviews.

The health department said it is looking into whether the deaths are linked to a Nov. 7 wedding in Ritzville, about 59 miles southwest of Spokane, but an investigation found that some staff members at the facilities had tested positive after attending the event.

Columbia Crest Center, a nursing home in Moses Lake, Wash.
Columbia Crest Center, a nursing home in Moses Lake, Wash.Google Maps

Officials did not say how many staff members were guests at the wedding and a health department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.

"Because staff in these facilities care for entire units, direct contact with associated patients is not known," the agency said.

The health department had previously said that the wedding was linked to 40 cases of coronavirus and outbreaks at a nursing home facility and a school. The more than 300 guests were asked to get tested and to quarantine.

At the time of the ceremony, Gov. Jay Inslee's executive order capped wedding receptions at 30 people, according to the Tri-City Herald.

"Our most vulnerable community members — elderly, immunocompromised, and those with chronic conditions — are especially at risk of complications due to a COVID-19 infection and 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," the health department urged.

"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."