AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) –
Crews from the Maine Forest Service continue to lend their support to crews fighting fires out west.
Ranger Keith Draper is heading to Colorado this week, to help combat a fire that’s currently reported at more than 23,000 acres.
“We do out-of-state mobilization assignments for wildfire suppression. Starting towards the end of the summer here, they have a pretty large wildfire season out west, and doing so, we offer some of our personnel and our resources to go out and fight those wildfires. We’re going to I believe it’s Redfeather Lakes, Colorado area. It’s the Cameron Peak fire. It’s on a couple of U.S. Forest – Forest’s grounds,” says Keith Draper.
Draper, who’s worked on wildfires in Maine and Quebec, says Maine Forest Rangers use their experience, offering assistance each year during wildfire season in western states. Rangers from throughout Maine have been assigned to fires in Colorado and California this summer, serving about two weeks at a time. Nearly 700 personnel are assigned to the Colorado fire.
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Since then, the virus has spread so fast, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said, that it has infected people that didn’t even attend the wedding, including residents of a nursing home and inmates at a county jail. The outbreak claimed the life of one woman on Friday, according to hospital officials.
“Sixty people are now associated with that one outbreak, its impacts are widespread.” Mills said. “One person, one contact can light a match and spark a fire that we may be unable to put out.”
On Tuesday, Maine CDC said there was a total of 60 positive cases associated with the wedding and reception in Millinocket on August 7. Of those cases, only 22 were from individuals that attended the event. There are 14 secondary cases, meaning people who had close contact with someone who attended, and 24 tertiary cases, meaning someone who had close contact with a secondary.
The agency also announced that there were outbreaks at Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center in Madison and at York County Jail in Alfred, both linked back to the wedding event.
“That’s what Covid-19 is like. You open up glitter in Millinocket and next thing you know you are finding traces of it at a jail complex in York County. It’s just emblematic of how quickly, silently and efficiently it can spread.”
Of the cases that have been detected, 83% have been individuals who are symptomatic.
Hundreds of miles away from the wedding
As of Tuesday, there are six cases of the virus at Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center, over 100 miles away from where the wedding took place, according to Maine CDC. Two cases are staff members and four are residents, according to Shah. Those cases are counted in the 60.
Through contact tracing, Shah said they were able to determine that the virus entered the nursing home through a staff member who had been in contact with their parent. Their parent was infected by their other child, who had attended the wedding.
CNN reached out to Maplecrest for a comment and did not receive a response.
The wedding outbreak is also linked to the spread of the virus at York County Jail in Alfred, over 220 miles away from the August 7 event. Maine CDC has been investigating the outbreak at the jail since August 21.
On Tuesday, Shah said they have confirmed that a staff member of the jail, who was one of the very first positive cases at the jail, attended the wedding. There are 18 positive cases at the jail, he said. Of those cases, nine jail staff members, two employees with the York County government and seven inmates.
“These recent examples … demonstrate how aggressive and how opportunistic this virus is,” Dr. Shah said. “And how quickly it can move from one community to another.”
Shah added that the jail cases are not included in the 60.
Where the investigation started
Shah said they are investigating other points of connection with the group including the ceremony that was held at Tri Town Baptist Church.
“It is an official notice from the agency that they have not aided to one or more health-related regulations,” Dr. Shah said. “When it was delivered, the owners said they did agree to comply to all these issues they were cited for going forward.”
He added that there isn’t a financial penalty associated with the citation, but there could be if there is further evidence of noncompliance.
CNN reached out to Big Moose Inn for comment and did not receive a response.
“What we’ve learned about Covid-19 is that it can be the uninvited guest at every single wedding, party or event in Maine,” Dr. Shah said. “The virus is where we are and then it comes home with us.”
Maine CDC continues to investigate the outbreak and spread within the state.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Laura Ly and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.
The woman, New Yorker Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, died after she was apparently mistaken for a seal while swimming and was last seen being dragged beneath the waves on Monday. Student TJ Minutillo, 21, claims to have been catching – and releasing – sharks his entire life, and said he has landed 300 of them since he was three.
However, he admitted the bull shark he caught off Nickerson Beach – which he called a “jaws dropped” was exceptional, even by his standards.
Reacting to the news that five great white are believed to be lurking off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, he told the New York Post: “I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean in general so I think it’s really cool to see them around.
“However it can raise a bit of concern when you end up with a situation like the woman in Maine.”
Speaking about sharks, he said: “Most of the time they’re harmless. But freak things happen sometimes.”
Fashion executive Ms Holowach’s death was attributed to a great white after a tooth discovered embedded in her body was identified as belonging to the species, the shark depicted as a maneater in Stephen Spielberg’s 1976 classic, Jaws.
In a parallel with the movie, police in both Maine and New York have now deployed boats and helicopters to search for more killer sharks.
READ MORE: Shark horror as woman attacked to death on US coast while swimming
On Monday, in another echo of Jaws, swimmers were told to get out of the water in the county after two sharks were spotted, with a local television station suggesting it was a large bull shark between seven and 10 feet in length.
Scientists have warned a 16ft great white weighing in at more than 3,400 pounds nicknamed Mary Lee is likely to head to hunting grounds in Jersey this summer.
Another massive shark, 1,300 pound Caroline, also took up residence in the waters surrounding New York City recently.
Eyewitness, Steve Arnold, said of Ms Holowch: “I saw her lift a little bit out of the water – 12 to 18 inches maybe.”
Another swimmer, Charlie Wemyss-Dunn swan out to help Ms Holowach and brought her back to shore.
She was pronounced dead a short time later.
Her death is the first fatal shark attack ever recorded in the state of Maine.
The only other recorded shark attack involved a scuba diver in 2010.
Speaking on Monday, Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), said: “Today I have the sad duty of confirming that Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City, died yesterday as a result of a shark attack while swimming near Bailey Island.”