Two mink have tested positive for the virus that causes the novel coronavirus in humans.
According to a press release from the B.C. government, the two mink were identified on a farm in Abbotsford that had been under quarantine since May when another mink test positive.
The province says five other mink samples from the same farm also tested positive at the B.C. Animal Health Lab, but the final results are still pending from The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg.
The province says the mink were identified this time around through a wildlife surveillance project led by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in partnership with the One Health Working Group.
“One of the main objectives is to assess the potential for virus transmission to free-ranging animals from an infected premise. In this instance, four mink had escaped their cages and were captured on-farm,” the province said in its release.
As a result of the latest infections, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s provincial health officer, has issued a brand new order that places a moratorium on any new mink farms in B.C. and capping existing mink farms at their current numbers.
The order, which is effective immediately, requires each farm to report the total number of mink, both breeding stock and non-breeding mink, to the province and the medical health officer in the health authority they are located in.
Since December, a total of three mink farms in B.C. have had mink test positive for SARS-CoV-2, with all three farms currently under quarantine, according to the provincial government.
“Fraser Health, WorkSafeBC and the Province continue to ensure biosecurity measures are in place to protect workers and families on mink farms, as well as making sure each farm is taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-through human-to-animal or animal-to-human transmission,” the province said in its release.
The nine B.C. mink farms, all located in the Fraser Valley, employ approximately 150 workers.