Coronavirus fragments found in north Geelong wastewater
26th November 2020

Fragments of the virus which causes COVID-19 have been found at a wastewater treatment plant in Geelong’s north, worrying health authorities who say there’s been no recent cases in the area.

People who live in or visited Geelong’s northern suburbs and Lara between November 21 and November 23 are being encouraged to get tested if they have any symptoms.

It comes after Victoria recorded 27 consecutive days without a new COVID-19 case, one day shy of the 28-day milestone often touted by epidemiologists as signalling "elimination" of the virus in the community.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said on Thursday the result from the Corio treatment plant was unexpected as there have been no recent COVID-19 infections in the area where the viral fragments were found.

But the positive result could be from a recovered case living or visiting the area still "shedding" the virus weeks after recovering from the infection.

“We have had few of these positive wastewater results recently and, while we haven’t discovered any undiagnosed case of coronavirus, it is possible that there may be an infectious person in this catchment,” Professor Cheng said.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng.Credit:Justin McManus

“We encourage people in this area who are symptomatic to be tested and will update the community once more testing results become available. It is also a timely reminder for local businesses to re-check their COVID Safe plans to keep themselves, their colleagues and customers safe.”

Last week, viral fragments were found in wastewater samples from Altona, Benalla and Portland. No cases have been detected in those areas following the findings.

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