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An Oregon mink farm reported an outbreak of the coronavirus among animals and workers on November 19. The farm was placed under quarantine by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) on November 23. No animals or animal products can leave the farm while the farm is under quarantine. All of the farm’s workers were asked to self-quarantine.
Andrea Cantu-Schomus, a spokeswoman for ODA, would not say which county the mink farm is in or how many farm workers tested positive for the coronavirus. She cited federal health privacy rules as the reason for not giving out more specific information. She did say that the farm has about 12,000 animals. The majority of the state’s mink farms, eight out of 11, are located in Marion County.
When the farm’s owner reported the COVID-19 outbreak among the mink, ODA took samples from ten of the sick minks. All of the samples came back positive for COVID-19. Cantu-Schomus didn’t say how many minks are affected but that the ten animals tested were a sample of the mink population on the farm. The Oregon Health Authority asked the farmworkers to self-isolate.
Several states have reported outbreaks in farmed minks, as have other countries. Earlier this month, Denmark reported a decision to exterminate its entire population of minks, about 17 million. The report from Denmark that a mutated strain of the virus spread from the minks to humans has not been reported elsewhere.
Oregon has the nation’s fourth-largest farmed mink industry. Wisconsin, Utah, and Michigan also have a large number of mink farms. All of these states have reported coronavirus outbreaks. State and national environmental groups are taking advantage of the reported outbreaks by lobbying for the closure of mink farms.
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