Covid fragments detected at local wastewater facility
RESIDENTS in multiple Bundaberg suburbs are being encouraged to get tested for Covid-19 if they have symptoms after a positive case of low-level viral fragments were confirmed at the Rubyana Wastewater Facility this week.
The testing of Rubyanna sewage was part of resampling at three local wastewater facilities following the discovery of Covid-19 in a combined pool sample of Bundaberg sewage on November 24.
The positive testing narrows down where the fragments came from to the suburbs serviced by Rubyanna Wastewater Facility.
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 or that a no longer infectious case was still shedding fragments of the disease.
“The shedding of the virus 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 encouraged anyone in the listed suburbs with even mild symptoms consistent with Covid-19 to get tested.
“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,” Dr Conroy said.
“Testing is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and the wider community from Covid-19.”
“The discovery of the fragments is also a great reminder that we should not be complacent and need to keep in place good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and ensure high testing rates.”
Samples from local wastewater treatment plants have been regularly taken and tested for Covid-19 since mid-July.
People in the following suburbs are encouraged to get tested if they have any symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19:
- Avenell Heights
- Bundaberg Central
- Bundaberg East
- Bundaberg North
- Bundaberg South
- Burnett Heads
The Bundaberg fever clinic is at the Recreation Precinct (AgroTrend Grounds), entry via Kendalls Road, Branyan, and is open from 7.30am to 4.30pm
The Hervey Bay fever clinic is at the council carpark adjacent to St Stephen’s Hospital corner of Nissen Street and Medical Place, Urraween, and is open from 7.30am to 4.30pm each day.
The Maryborough fever clinic is at Maryborough Hospital with its entrance off Yaralla Street and is open from 7.30am to 4.30pm.