Risk of Animals Spreading Covid-19 to People is Low, Oregon Health Authority Says

The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 originally came from an animal, but that’s not how it’s happening anymore, scientists say.

The virus mutated to be spread primarily from person to person, and the risk of any animal — including the beloved family pet — being a carrier for the virus is now considered quite remote, according to a release from the Oregon Health Authority this weekend.

“From what we know now, the risk of animals spreading Covid-19 to people is considered low,” OHA said. “A small number of pets have been infected, mostly after close contact with people with Covid-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive had symptoms.”

The first known animal to test positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger at a New York zoo. No word on if the tiger agreed to a 14-day quarantine, but I know a good binge show if it needs one.

It is likely that dogs and cats are a “dead-end host,” OHA says, which is a terrifying way of saying that, even if they contract the virus, they do not continue to transmit it onward. Still, the state public health authority urges appropriate precautions.

“Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection,” the release from OHA said.

They recommend not allowing pets to interact with people or other animals outside the household, and keeping cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people. Dog walkers should maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other people and animals.

We’re still waiting on the face mask guidelines. In the meantime, here are more tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!