UARC recently received records from Washington State University which reveal that at least two mink farms in Utah County have been the sites of COVID-19 outbreaks. Workers on these farms have also been infected with COVID-19, and at least one manager at a mink farm has died from a COVID-19 infection.
Its unknown exactly how many animals were affected, but official forms state that “lots” of mink on these farms were affected and died from the outbreaks.
It remains unclear whether the state of Utah or the federal government is even carrying out whole genomic sequencing, which is the only type of surveillance and laboratory testing method which could indicate whether these farm workers got infected from the mink, or the other way around. The documents provided by Washington State only show the results from PCR testing.
UARC expects to receive hundreds of pages of records from the USDA related to these outbreaks on or before December 23, 2020.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is still refusing to release any information to UARC under Utah’s open records laws. UARC has a pending appeal before the Utah State Records Committee, which plans to re-visit the matter at its Jan. 14th hearing.