A coronavirus outbreak has been reported at an Oregon mink farm, spreading among animals and workers, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Environmental groups had previously expressed concern about a mutant coronavirus strain spreading from mink to humans.
Citing federal health privacy rules, an ODA spokeswoman declined to reveal the farm’s location or how many workers have tested positive for COVID-19, but did say the farm has around 12,000 animals, according to a Nov. 27 article by the Statesman Journal.
Mink farming has been the source of coronavirus outbreaks in several states as well as abroad. Denmark recently announced it would kill all 17 million of the minks raised there after 12 people were infected with a mutated strain that spread from minks to humans. This specific strain has not yet been detected elsewhere.
Oregon is the fourth-largest mink farming state in the U.S., after Wisconsin, Utah and Michigan. All three of those states have also had outbreaks on mink farms.
The ODA spokesman said all of the minks in the Oregon outbreak appear to have recovered, according to the Statesman Journal’s report. The agriculture department will test the minks after symptoms resolve, and continue testing every 14 days until no more infected minks are found. An interagency investigation is also ongoing to determine how COVID-19 is transmitted among minks, other animals and people.
This past week, state agriculture officials said there were no plans for inspections or testing of mink unless symptoms were reported. A Medford-based national nonprofit representing mink farmers is offering free COVID-19 testing to farm operators and staff, according to the Statesman Journal.
By Cody Mann