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A health authority has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a mink farm after eight people at the operation in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley tested positive for the disease.

Fraser Health says in a statement it is screening people connected to the unnamed farm.

It says people who test positive for COVID-19 or those who are close contacts of employees or farm operators are self-isolating.

Fraser Health says officials from the health authority and WorkSafeBC are at the site to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Fraser Health says the B.C. Health Act has placed the mink farm under orders to restrict the transport of animals, goods and products.

In October, Canada’s mink breeders announced they were increasing safety measures on their farms to avoid the devastating COVID-19 outbreaks that have plagued their European and American counterparts.

Infections on mink farms in Europe and the United States have shown the animals are susceptible to COVID-19. Canada’s breeders are already suffering from a drop in fur prices and losses from the Chinese market.

Breeders in Denmark euthanized 15 million minks over concerns about a mutated version of the virus that has spread among the animals. Mink farmers in Spain have culled almost 100,000. In the U.S., nearly 10,000 minks across Utah died of COVID-19 as the virus spread rapidly across farms in the state.

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