Batemans Bay sewage testing reveals virus which causes COVID-19

A testing station at Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay, during winter after a COVID-19 outbreak. Tests on the sewage system in the area on November 17 revealed fragments of the virus which causes the disease.
A testing station at Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay, during winter after a COVID-19 outbreak. Tests on the sewage system in the area on November 17 revealed fragments of the virus which causes the disease.

Coronavirus fragments have been found in Batemans Bay area sewage, prompting health authorities to call on anyone with symptoms to get tested.

"Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in samples taken on Tuesday 17 November from the sewerage system that serves Batemans Bay as part of the state's sewage surveillance program," authorities said.

"The catchment takes sewage from approximately 21,000 people.

"The positive sewage result can be due to shedding of the virus by someone who may have previously had the illness, with the virus 'shedding' through their system for up to six to eight weeks later.

"While this positive result may be explained by a previous case who is no longer infectious, as a precaution, NSW Health is calling on people in the Batemans Bay area to get tested if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms."

Authorities said NSW recorded no new cases of locally acquired COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

"Three cases were reported in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine. This brings the total number of cases in NSW to 4,328 since the start of the pandemic," a spokesperson said.

Statement from NSW Health

There were 18,391 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with 20,160 in the previous 24 hours.

NSW Health is treating 63 COVID-19 cases, none of whom are in intensive care. Most cases, 97 per cent, are being treated by NSW Health in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.

To help minimise spread of the cases recently reported in South Australia, NSW Health is asking people coming to NSW from South Australia, by whatever mode of transport, to complete a declaration form to check if they have visited any of the areas or venues of concern identified by the South Australian authorities. This also applies to people arriving in NSW who have been in South Australia within the past 14 days. The form is available here, and the list of areas or venues of concern are available here.

Anyone who has been in South Australia since Friday 6 November should regularly monitor the SA Health alert page for venues of concern and follow the advice of SA Health. They must immediately self-isolate if they have been to any venues where this is advised, and get tested if even the mildest of symptoms appear.

Travellers who are not NSW residents who have visited any of these venues will not be permitted to travel to NSW until the 14-day period has elapsed.

NSW Health continues to advise NSW residents to defer non-essential travel to Adelaide, while people from Adelaide should defer non-essential travel to NSW.

Although there have been no new locally acquired cases in NSW for the past 13 days, new cases have appeared in the past after several days of no reported cases because transmission can occur among people with mild or no symptoms. If people don't come forward for testing, outbreaks can easily be missed early on when they can be more readily controlled.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP. Most people receive their test results within 24 hours.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19:

If you are unwell, get tested and isolate right away - don't delay.

Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with you when you go out.

Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Wear a mask when using public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in shops, places of worship and other places where you can't physically distance. When taking taxis or rideshares, commuters should also sit in the back.

This story Fragments of COVID-19 virus in Batemans Bay sewage: Call for testing first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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