Cambridge wedding ceremony outbreak linked to 21 circumstances

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The outbreak associated with the Cambridge wedding grows to 19 cases

KÜCHENER – A wedding-related COVID-19 outbreak in Cambridge has been linked to 21 cases.

“Regardless of the rules, people will be up close,” said Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “That’s why weddings are probably the number one super-spreader event.”

108 guests and eight employees attended the wedding, which did not violate provincial regulations. Under the red “control level” of the province’s reopening framework, venues can operate with less than 30 percent capacity. The venue holds around 700 people.

The region’s COVID-19 dashboard said the outbreak ended on March 16.

However, the rules for parties after the wedding are different. Only 10 people are allowed.

“It’s a wedding, people will hug and kiss,” said Furness. “If you don’t do it where the guards can see, do it elsewhere.”

Employees at local wedding venues such as Tapestry Hall said there has been an increase in requests from couples in the Toronto area looking to welcome more people into their wedding.

“About half of them are from the Zone and we had bad news to deliver,” said Christina Marshall, director of business development for Gaslights Event Company.

Earlier this week, the province announced that regions in the gray “lockdown” tier could increase capacity for religious services, including weddings, to 50 people outdoors and 15 percent indoors.

“The government recognizes the important roles that weddings, funerals and faith-based services play for Ontarians, including maintaining their sanity and well-being,” said a statement from the Department of Health, in part.

The statement added that people are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and not hang out with people outside of their household. They should also wear a mask or face covering if they are no more than two meters away from people they do not live with.

However, Furness said there are concerns about gatherings this size as the number of cases in the province grows.

“We are putting a log on a very unwanted fire,” he said. “Right now would be the worst time to loosen the restrictions, and that’s because we’re in a third wave that is variant-driven.”

Ontario reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for 10 days and the positivity rate in the province rose to 4.5 percent.

The Waterloo Region added 37 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.