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Oregon mink farm now clear from SARS-CoV-2; farm quarantine lifted.

On February 11, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) lifted the quarantine on the Oregon mink farm previously affected by SARS-CoV-2. ODA placed the farm under quarantine (no animal or animal products could leave the farm) on November 24, after ten mink samples tested positive for the virus. The Oregon Health Authority also asked those working on the farm to self-isolate and provided training on enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Health officials believed the mink contracted the virus from caretakers.

During the quarantine, ODA conducted five rounds of SARS-CoV-2 testing at the farm. The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the last two rounds of samples, showed the virus no longer detectable among the 62 samples collected. Per USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, ODA required two consecutive rounds of negative testing for SARS-CoV-2 before lifting the farm quarantine.

“Getting to this result involved a big group of hard-working people from several agencies both state and federal, not to mention the cooperation of the farmer,” said Dr. Ryan Scholz, state veterinarian, ODA. “We followed the guidance provided by USDA and CDC, the farmer cooperated throughout the entire process, the virus was not detected in nearby wildlife, and sequencing showed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus on this farm did not mutate. This is a best-case scenario, and we are sharing what we have learned with others.”

ODA is not identifying the farm’s location because, in this case, the affected facility is small. Therefore, disclosing any individually identifiable information could reasonably result in disclosing an individual’s medical information, precisely an individual’s COVID-19 status. ODA believes that the COVID status of an identified person is considered personal information that should not be disclosed to the public and would be an unreasonable invasion of privacy under ORS 192.355(2). Therefore, ODA is declining to release this information. According to the USDA, controlling the virus in people is ultimately the best way to mitigate the virus from spreading to animals.