COVID-19 found in seven sewage treatment plants


COVID-19 viral fragments have been detected at seven Queensland wastewater plants in the latest sewage analysis.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said evidence of COVID-19 was found in sewage collected at Caboolture South, Oxley Creek, Bundamba, Gibson Island at South Brisbane, Luggage Point in North Brisbane, Maryborough and at Pulgul in Hervey Bay.

The positive results are among more than 50 wastewater samples in Queensland that have contained fragments of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since sewage analysis began last July.

Dr Young said the tests did not equate to evidence of new COVID-19 cases in the communities involved, but she was taking the results seriously.

She said the detections were evidence of someone "shedding the virus", but people could continue to excrete viral fragments for months after they were no longer infectious.

The Luggage Point sewage treatment plant in Pinkenba. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
The Luggage Point sewage treatment plant in Pinkenba. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

"I continue to urge anyone who feels unwell in these communities to get tested and isolate," Dr Young said.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, and loss of taste or smell.

Queensland recorded two new cases of the virus today, both acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

One is a man in his 60s who had travelled from Sweden, Denmark and Singapore.

The other is a woman in her 20s, who had recently arrived from Sweden.

News of the latest cases comes as Queensland Health issued a public health alert for travellers who had arrived into the state from New Zealand since January 14.

They are urged to get tested for SARS-CoV-2 and to quarantine until they receive a negative result.

The alert was issued after a 56-year-old woman tested positive to the highly infectious South African COVID-19 variant after completing 14 days of hotel quarantine in Auckland.

She had since visited "a number of locations" in New Zealand.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a minimum 72-hour suspension of the "green zone" travel bubble with New Zealand in light of the woman's case.

And Queensland Health said in a statement: "We are urging anyone who has returned from New Zealand to get tested immediately, even if you do not have symptoms and to quarantine until you receive a negative result."

Travellers seeking clarification or more information should contact 13 HEALTH.

For details of testing clinics:

Originally published as COVID-19 found in seven sewage treatment plants