COVID-19 VIRAL FRAGMENTS DETECTED IN FRASER COAST SEWAGE

MEDIA RELEASE FROM FRASER COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL

Fraser Coast residents are being urged to stay calm and keep following the advice of health authorities in the wake of today’s announcement that viral fragments of COVID-19 were detected in samples from the Maryborough and Pulgul sewage treatment plants.

The samples were taken as part of a Queensland Health study testing sewage for traces of COVID-19 in a range of locations throughout regional Queensland.

The Fraser Coast’s test results are:

Pulgul (services Kawungan, Nikenbah, Scarness, Torquay, Urangan, Wondunna)

  • Positive sample taken on 5/1/21
  • Negative in weeks preceding

Maryborough (services Aldershot, Granville, Island Plantation, Maryborough, Maryborough West, Oakhurst, St Helens, Tinana)

  • Positive on two consecutive weekly samples taken 22/12/2020 AND 4/1/2021 (note the sample from before Christmas was delayed in transit)
  • Negative sample taken on 5/1/21
  • Negative in weeks preceding

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said Council was committed to supporting Queensland Health as the lead agency responding to COVID-19.

“It is important to stay calm and stay informed. There is no need to panic as a result of today’s announcement, with the Chief Health Officer stressing there is no concern for the community.

“Queensland Health advises a positive sewage result most likely means that someone who had been infected was shedding the virus, which can happen for several weeks after a person is no longer infectious. They also advise that viral fragments are not infectious.

“Importantly, the virus fragment was detected in sewage and has nothing to do with the quality of our drinking water. Our water is safe to drink, to shower in and to use in cooking or watering your garden. 

“It also needs to be understood that the virus is killed by usual sewage treatment processes before it is discharged to the environment.

“This result does not necessarily mean there is COVID-19 on the Fraser Coast, but we won’t know if there are undetected cases unless people with symptoms get tested.

“On the Fraser Coast, fever clinics are located at the Maryborough Hospital and at the car park near the St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay and they are open seven days a week from 7.30am to 5.30pm.

“Yesterday’s announcement highlights the need for everyone to remain vigilant by continuing physical distancing, maintaining good hygiene practices and abiding by public health directions.

“If anyone has any concerns, they should get tested or contact 13 HEALTH for further advice.”

More information and advice is available at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/

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