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B.C. cracks down on mink farms after more positive COVID-19 tests

In this file photo, minks are seen at a farm in Gjol, northern Denmark on October 9, 2020. HENNING BAGGER/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Two mink on a B.C. farm have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, after animals tested positive and the farm went under quarantine in May, the province says.

The government did not provide any details about the location of the farm.

Five additional mink samples from the same farm have initially tested positive at the B.C. Animal Health Lab, with final results pending from the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg.

Click to play video: 'Spread of COVID-19 in mink' Spread of COVID-19 in mink
Spread of COVID-19 in mink – May 19, 2021

As a result of the latest infections, a provincial health officer’s order has been issued to all mink-farm operators in the province, halting any new mink farms and capping existing ones at their current numbers.

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: hundreds of mink die at Fraser Valley farm' COVID-19: hundreds of mink die at Fraser Valley farm
COVID-19: hundreds of mink die at Fraser Valley farm – Dec 13, 2020

The province said one of the main goals is to assess the potential for virus transmission to free-ranging animals.

In this case, four mink had escaped their cages and were captured while still on the farm.

A review is underway of current policies and regulations with respect to fur farms, the province said, while ensuring the recommended mitigation measures are in place.

Read more: B.C. mink farm under COVID-19 quarantine

A total of three B.C. mink farms have had animals test positive for the novel coronavirus since December.

All three remain under quarantine, with no mink being moved to or from the properties.

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