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A Western Lowland Gorilla, an endangered animal species, sits in an exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Thirteen western lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta are receiving treatment for COVID-19 after initial tests came back positive, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.

Why it matters: Zoo Atlanta confirmed in a statement on Friday that "a number" of its 20 gorillas had tested presumptively positive, and that the zoo believes they were infected by a fully vaccinated team member.

  • The team member was wearing PPE and was asymptomatic that day, the statement added.

State of play: The gorillas were tested for the virus after they exhibited classic symptoms, including coughing, runny noses, and minor changes in appetite, the statement said.

  • Oral and fecal samples were sent to the University of Georgia's Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which came back with 13 presumptive positive results.
  • The zoo is now awaiting confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, which also received samples.
  • Gorillas that are at risk of developing complications are being treated with monoclonal antibodies, the statement added.
  • All 20 of the gorillas will be tested regularly regardless of symptoms, the zoo added.

Once they recover, the gorillas — as well as the zoo's Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, African lions, and clouded leopard — will receive the Zoetis coronavirus vaccine developed for animals.

What they're saying: “The teams are very closely monitoring the affected gorillas and are hopeful they will make a complete recovery,” Sam Rivera, senior director of animal health at the zoo, said in the statement.

  • “They are receiving the best possible care, and we are prepared to provide additional supportive care should it become necessary," Rivera said.

The big picture: Other zoos around the country have also begun to vaccinate some of their charges.

  • On Aug. 30, the Detroit Zoo announced it had begun vaccinations, starting with its Gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions.
  • The Oakland Zoo began vaccinating its animals in July.
  • In February, great apes at the San Diego Zoo became the first animals in the country to be inoculated against the virus, per National Geographic.
  • Zoetis plans to send 11,000 doses of the animal vaccine to more than 80 institutions around the country for free, according to National Geographic.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Bill Clinton released from hospital following treatment for non-COVID infection

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was discharged from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Sunday, nearly a week after he was admitted for a non-COVID-related infection, according to his spokesperson Angel Ureña.

What they're saying: "His fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics," wrote Dr. Alpesh Amin, who has been overseeing the team of doctors treating Clinton. "On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress."

Worth noting: Clinton had a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, per CNN.

  • The California-based medical team had been administering IV antibiotics and fluids, and was in constant communication with Clinton's New York team, including his cardiologist, according to the former president's physicians.
  • President Biden spoke by phone with Clinton on Friday to see how he was doing, and the catch-up included a discussion of recent politics.