COVID-19 viral fragments detected in wastewater

Low levels of viral fragments of coronavirus (COVID 19) were detected in a sample taken last week at the wastewater treatment plant in Castlemaine.

Wastewater samples are taken at least weekly from 95 wastewater monitoring locations across Victoria, including 70 wastewater treatment plants, for early-warning of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Victorian Department of Health has reported that low level fragments were also detected at several other sites across Victoria, including Cowes and Pakenham.

Wastewater monitoring can show the possible presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a local community. However, detecting the virus in wastewater does not always mean there is an active case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the area.

The Department of Health has undertaken weekly tests on Castlemaine wastewater since late last year. Testing frequency has increased in response to the 27 January detection.

A possible explanation for the detection is that a person or people shedding the virus may have visited the area. People who have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer infectious continue to shed the virus for many weeks.

Information about wastewater testing and monitoring is available on the Department of Health website.

“When fragments of coronavirus (COVID-19) are detected where there are no known positive cases, everyone in the community should be alert and mindful of the importance of testing. Anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild should stay home and get tested,” says Castlemaine Health CEO, Sue Race.

Castlemaine Health and CHIRP Community Health continue to deliver COVID-19 testing for the local community. The drive-through COVID-19 screening clinics are held at CHIRP Community Health at 13 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine.

Clinics are held every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11.30 by appointment only. If you have symptoms or require a test please call 5479 1000 to make an appointment.

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