More wastewater samples test positive to COVID-19 in Cairns

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Traces of COVID-19 have again been detected in sewage at the North Cairns Wastewater Treatment Plant in samples taken on 13 January.

The wastewater plant serves the Aeroglen, Barron, Brinsmead, Cairns City, Cairns North, Edge Hill, Freshwater, Holloways Beach, Kamerunga, Machans Beach, Manoora, Manunda, Parramatta Park, Portsmith, Redlynch, Stratford and Whitfield areas.


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The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) said the result could be due to the cases in the Cairns Hospital and quarantine hotel, both of which fall within the catchment area.

“However, we cannot rule out the possibility that there could be other cases who were, or are still, in the area," CHHHS said.

“Anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, should get tested immediately.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said fragments of COVID-19 were also detected in sewerage at two other sites in Queensland: at Merrimac on the Gold Coast and Cannonvale in the Airlie Beach area.

“While this does not mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, we are treating these detections seriously,” Dr Young said.

“A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious.

“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.

“If there is a case we are not yet aware of, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread.”

For more information about Queensland’s wastewater surveillance program, click here.

The full list of COVID-19 testing locations can be found here.



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