COVID fragments found in Bundaberg sewage wastewater
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services have revealed low level viral fragments of COVID-19 have been discovered in sewage at a wastewater treatment plant in Bundaberg earlier this week.
According to the WBHHS the discovery was made on November 24.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Director of Public Health Dr Niall Conroy said the fragments could either indicate the presence of an undiagnosed case of COVID-19 somewhere in Bundaberg or that a previous case who was no longer infectious was still shredding fragments of the disease.
“While the fragments indicate someone is shedding the virus, this can occur for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious and the fragments themselves are not infectious,” Dr Conroy said.
“On top of that, local drinking water is thoroughly treated through processes that are designed to remove or kill microorganisms before they reach your taps – so there is no risk when drinking water, showering, watering the garden, swimming or other activities.”
While the fragments themselves do not pose a risk to the community, Dr Conroy said it was a timely reminder for people to remain vigilant and get tested.
“While it’s unlikely, we cannot rule out that there are COVID-19 cases within the Bundaberg community,” Dr Conroy said.
“The discovery of these fragments is a reminder that we should not be complacent and need to keep in place good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and ensure high testing rates.
“It is essential to get tested if you have even mild symptoms that are linked with COVID-19, including a fever or acute respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath.
“Testing is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and the wider community from COVID-19.”
Samples from local wastewater treatment plants have been regularly taken and tested for COVID-19 since mid-July.
The Bundaberg fever clinic is located at the Recreation Precinct (AgroTrend Grounds), entry via Kendalls Road, Branyan, and is open from 7.30am to 4.30pm.