COVID-19 in B.C.: Eight individuals at mink farm in Fraser Valley test positive

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      Following the appearance of a mutated strain of COVID-19 at mink farms in Europe, B.C. has confirmed that several individuals at a Fraser Valley mink farm have tested positive.

      On December 6, Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a mink farm in the Fraser Valley.

      Fraser Health did not identify the name of the farm.

      As of the announcement, Fraser Health had confirmed eight people at the site had tested positive. All individuals who tested positive, are close contacts of confirmed cases, are farm operators, or are affected staff are in self-isolation.

      Fraser Health and WorkSafeBC inspected the site and and are working with the farm on their COVID-19 safety measures.

      The farm has been ordered, under the B.C. Animal Health Act, to restrict the transport of animals, products, and goods.

      Testing of the animals is underway, and animal welfare is being overseen by the Agriculture Ministry.

      B.C. health officials have not yet stated if transmission between humans and mink has been confirmed.

      The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control had confirmed that transmission between humans and mink can occur.

      After over 200 people became infected with a mink-related mutated strain of the coronavirus, Denmark—one of the largest exporters of mink pelts—ordered the culling of approximately 17 million farmed mink in November.

      Danish officials feared that a mutated virus could affect the effectiveness of a vaccine.

      Mink-related infections have also been reported in Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, and the United States.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.