Mink on second farm in B.C.'s Fraser Valley test positive for COVID-19
VANCOUVER -- Mink at a second farm in British Columbia's Fraser Valley have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in humans, the provincial government announced Thursday.
Twenty-three of the farm's more than 1,000 animals died between Dec. 19 and 23, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries said in a news release, adding that three of the dead mink tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
"It is not currently known how the mink contracted the virus and the ministry is currently working with stakeholders to identify potential sources," the ministry said in its statement.
B.C.'s chief veterinarian has placed the farm under quarantine, prohibiting the movement of animals and materials in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Earlier this month, a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at another mink farm in the Fraser Valley. At least 200 mink at that farm died unexpectedly, and a total of 17 people associated with the farm had contracted the virus as of Wednesday.
The province has not released the name of either farm, citing a provision of B.C.'s Animal Health Act that prohibits the disclosure of information that would identify where a specific animal is located.
In its statement Thursday, the ministry did not say whether any humans at the second farm had tested positive for COVID-19.
It did say a plan is in place to provide food and care for the mink during the outbreak there while maintaining the safety of both the animals and the workers.
In November, millions of mink in Denmark were killed after health officials discovered a mutated strain of the coronavirus that had been transmitted back to humans from mink.
A genetic analysis of mink from B.C.'s first outbreak showed that both humans and animals had been infected with an identical or nearly identical strain of the virus.
"The strain detected has been circulating in people in B.C., indicating COVID-19 spread from people to animals and not the other way around," the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said in a statement on Wednesday.