Deadly outbreaks at Washington nursing homes possibly linked to staff who attended 300-person wedding

Health officials are investigating whether seven deaths reported at long-term care facilities in Grant County are linked to a 300-person "superspreader" wedding in Ritzville that some nursing home staff attended. 

According to the Grant County Health District, seven out of 10 additional COVID-19 deaths reported this week happened at three different long-term care facilties: McKay Healthcare & Rehab Center in Soap Lake; Lake Ridge Center in Moses Lake, and Columbia Crest Center in Moses Lake. 

All of the residents who died were men in their 70s, 80s and 90s, and all of them had underlying conditions that put them at a higher risk for severe Covid-19 complications, health officials said. 

Staff members at the nursing homes tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a 300-person "superspreader" wedding in Ritzville, but the health department did not say how many staff members attended and tested positive for Covid-19. They're also unable to confirm whether the staff interacted directly with the residents who died because staff in these facilities care for entire units. 

RELATED: Officials: 300 attend Washington wedding that leads to virus outbreak

"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 health department said. "Your choice to gather with those outside your household could lead to additional cases of Covid-19 and even death."

Grant County has reported 54 total Covid-19 deaths, with 26 of those deaths reported in November alone. 

Chart provided by Grant County Health District

The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 2,090 new Covid-19 cases and 50 deaths, with 241 new hospitalizations statewide. 

The state has had 172,432 cases and 2,900 Covid-related deaths since the pandemic began.