Georgia Aquarium: Otters test positive for virus that causes COVID-19

Georgia Aquarium's Asian small-clawed otters have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (Photo: Georgia Aquarium/Facebook)

The Georgia Aquarium said Sunday its Asian small-clawed otters tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The aquarium said the otters are "doing well" and expected to make a full recovery.

The Georgia Aquarium said in a statement that officials believe the disease was transmitted to the otters by an asymptomatic staff member, despite health and safety protocols in place.

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Aquarium officials said the otters began exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses and mild lethargy. Some even had a cough.

Aquarium staff removed the otters from the exhibit. Georgia Aquarium animal health and care teams are currently caring for them.

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The risk of animal-to-human transmission is incredibly rare, the statement said, and the Asian small-clawed otters at the aquarium do not have direct contact with guests.

Georgia Aquarium is currently open to the public with limited attendance. All guests are required to wear masks and consent to a contactless temperature screening. Admission is staggered in 30-minute timeslots.


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