MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Friday extending to the waiver of trucking regulations in order to combat the spread of bird flu in the state. The order went into effect immediately.

“Minnesota’s poultry industry is the strongest in the nation thanks to the hard work of our farmers and producers,” the governor said, in a statement. “I am committed to continue working with our farmers and producers to fight the ongoing [bird flu] outbreak and ensure our poultry industry remains strong.”

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The new executive order extends a previous executive order that waived the strict enforcement of certain weight restriction regulations and hours of service requirements to assist with depopulation efforts, transportation of uninfected animals to processing facilities, and maintenance of adequate supplies to support healthy flocks.

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Since the outbreak began earlier this year, 60 farms in nearly 20 Minnesota counties have been infected by the virus, resulting in over 2.7 million birds being euthanized, including commercial turkeys, breeder hens, egg-laying chickens, and backyard flocks. The virus is highly-contagious and can quickly spread from flock to flock. Once a flock is infected, it’s common practiced to euthanize (or depopulate) the flock.

So far, this strain of bird flu poses low risk to the general public, and there are no food safety concerns for people.

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Recently, the governor signed the Avian Influenza response bill into law, providing $1 million for emergency response activities in the effort to control and contain the virus.