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COVID-19​

For the most accurate and timely information regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

As a result of mitigation efforts in Dauphin county and the closure of all Capitol Complex offices, labs at the PA Department of Agriculture headquarters in Harrisburg will not be accepting public samples. If you are a consumer with a food sample related to a foodborne illness concern, please call 717-836-3261. If you have other questions or concerns, please call the main line at 717-787-4737.

Please note all regional offices are currently closed as a result of COVID-19.


PA Department of Agriculture News

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Food Assistance Programs and Resources, Encourages Volunteerism to Keep Life-Sustaining Food Services Available (March 24)

The Wolf Administration today reminded Pennsylvanians of food assistance resources available and what actions it is taking to ensure access to food does not stop in spite of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts. 

Department of Agriculture Issues Guidance to Ensure Continuity for Animal Shelters and Boarding Facilities, Offers Advice for Pet Owners (March 20)

In recognition of the critical role boarding kennels, doggie daycares, shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues play in ensuring essential workers and at-risk individuals have a safe place to house dogs and the need for continued care for Pennsylvania's strays, the Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for protecting staff and volunteers of such facilities. Advice was also offered to pet owners to protect themselves and their furry friends during COVID-19 mitigation.

Wolf Administration: Agriculture is Essential for a Safe and Reliable Food Supply (March 17)

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for the agriculture industry on essential businesses and how those businesses can mitigate against COVID-19 while maintaining essential operations to ensure access to food. 

Wolf Administration Directs Families to Emergency Food Assistance During COVID-19 Mitigation (March 17)

The department issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Amid Universities Moving Remote for COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s Animal Laboratory System Remains Open (March 13, 2020)

The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System labs, including Penn Vet New Bolton Center and Penn State Animal Diagnostic Lab, remains open for normal business hours and services as universities move to remote learning environments.

PA Farm Show Complex Announces Cancellation of Events in Proactive Effort Against COVID-19 (March 13, 2020)

Effective Friday, March 13, 2020, all public events scheduled for March at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center are canceled in response to COVID-19. Private meetings with 250 or more in attendance are also be prohibited.

Lab Services

The PA Veterinary Laboratory and PA Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System remain open during the Covid 19 emergency. Veterinarians continue to monitor developments in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USDA and Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The CDC has received no reports of pets, livestock or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that pets, including dogs, can spread COVID-19. Since other infectious diseases can spread between animals and people, it's always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals or handling animals, their food and supplies. Find more information about corona virus and animals through the CDC.

On Monday, March 16, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory temporarily reduced hours of operation to Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to noon. The lab will receive samples 24-7, just as under normal circumstances. Instructions are posted at laboratory entrances for those dropping off samples or deceased animals after hours. Samples will be preserved until appropriate testing can be conducted.

The lab will continue to test animal samples for dangerous transmissible diseases including, but not limited to avian influenza, brucella, rabies and tuberculosis that can be spread from animals to humans, as well as suspected foreign animal diseases like African swine fever that have not yet been detected in the U.S. but could severely impact the food supply if they were to reach this country.

If you are veterinarian, farmer or producer who suspects a high consequence disease due to increased sickness or death rates in your herd or flock, please call 717 772-2852 and press option 1 to speak with the veterinarian on call.  

Updates regarding Covid 19 and  University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center can be found here

Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory hours and information can be found here.

Background

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms (症状) of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

How can the coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.