COVID-19 found in Townsville treatment plant


COVID-19 has been detected in a Townsville wastewater facility for the second time in just over two months.

The Townsville Public Health Unit detected traces of the virus in the Condon wastewater treatment plant.

It follows a positive result on Oct ober 9.

The result comes amid a new COVID-19 hotspot in the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Townsville Public Health Unit and infection control teams are screening all incoming passengers flying from Sydney to Townsville for COVID-19 upon arrival.

Townsville Public Health Unit physician Dr Julie Mudd said the benefits of sewage testing is that it could indicate the possibility of undetected cases of COVID-19 in the region.

"People shouldn't be alarmed but they shouldn't be complacent either, if you are sick go and get tested and then stay home until you get your results," she said.

Public health physician Dr Julie Mudd.
Public health physician Dr Julie Mudd.

"This surveillance testing is extremely sensitive. It picks up tiny pieces of genetic material (RNA) of COVID-19. This is dead virus material so there is no risk to the community."

Dr Mudd said drive-through testing remained available to the community but at reduced hours and locations over the Christmas and New Year period.

The 1300Smiles Clinic will continue to operate right through the Christmas and New Year period while the Reid Park drive-through will close from December 25 to January 3.

Dr Mudd said it was imperative the community understood that the positive result does not necessary mean there are active cases in Townsville.

"There are no known outbreaks or active cases in Townsville and hasn't been for some time," she said.

"However, this positive sample means that we cannot rule out the possibility that there was or is an infected person in the area who has not been tested. It could also be an indication that someone who has previously had COVID-19 has visited our area and is still shedding the dead virus.

"This detection should serve as an alert and warning to the community to be vigilant for Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of smell or taste."

Dr Mudd said anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, should get tested immediately.

Originally published as COVID-19 found in Townsville treatment plant