NSW Health’s sewage surveillance program has detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 at treatment plants and sewage networks in Burwood Beach (sampled 21 April), Allambie Heights (sampled 22 April) and Merimbula (sampled 21 April).
The Burwood Beach Sewage Treatment Plant serves about 225,000 people and takes in the Newcastle City area and the surrounding suburbs of Dudley, Charlestown, Jesmond, Lambton, New Lambton, Mayfield, Elermore Vale, Wallsend, Kotara, Garden Suburb, Adamstown Heights, Kahibah, Highfields, Merewether, Waratah West, Georgetown and Carrington.
The Allambie Heights sewage network serves about 83,400 people in the Northern Head catchment, and includes the suburbs of Allambie Heights, Balgowlah, Curl Curl, North Curl Curl, North Manly, Freshwater, Collaroy, Collaroy Plateau, Narrabeen, Wheeler Heights, Oxford Falls, Dee Why, Cromer, Beacon Hill, Narraweena, Brookvale, Frenchs Forest.
The Merimbula sewage treatment plant serves about 15,000 people on the South Coast.
These positive sewage results may indicate the presence of people who have recently recovered from COVID-19, as they can continue to shed fragments of the virus for several weeks after recovery.
However, NSW Health is concerned that they could signal undetected cases in the community, and asks people in these areas to be alert for any cold-like symptoms that could signal COVID 19, including sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever or headache. If symptoms appear, please isolate and get tested immediately, and remain isolated until a negative result is received.
There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic, visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/.../how-to-protect.../clinics or contact your GP.
For more information on the NSW Sewage Surveillance Program, visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/.../sewage-surveillance.aspx