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2 Gorillas At San Diego Zoo Safari Park Test Positive For COVID-19, Third Symptomatic

SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) — Two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for COVID-19, the zoo and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

The zoo says two of its gorillas began coughing on Wednesday, Jan. 6, prompting zoo officials to test their fecal samples for SARS-CoV-2. Preliminary tests detected the virus on Jan. 8, according to the zoo.

The U.S Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the positive results Monday.

Zoo officials say the gorillas who tested positive are doing well and are being closely observed. A third gorilla also has symptoms, but all are expected to make a full recovery, according to the zoo.

The troop may have become infected by an asymptomatic staff member, but zoo officials say they don't know at this time how the virus will affect the gorillas or if they will experience any other symptoms.

Newsom included the news in his COVID-19 briefing Monday, saying it was of great interest to his animal-loving family.

"It's interesting, at least to me and I'll tell ya, it certainly was this morning with my household and my four kids -- excuse them, and forgive me -- seemed more intrigued by this slide that we were working on than anything else related to this pandemic because of their love for animals," he said.

The pandemic has not affected animal populations as much as humans, but there have been outbreaks at mink farms and there were reports of cats testing positive.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is currently closed to the public, but even under normal circumstances, officials say guests would not have contact with the gorilla troop at any time.

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