COVID -19 fragments have been discovered in Mackay wastewater. Picture: David. Crosling
COVID -19 fragments have been discovered in Mackay wastewater. Picture: David. Crosling

COVID fragments found in Mackay wastewater

Viral fragments of COVID-19 have been found in sewerage in South Mackay.

This come days after more fragments of the virus was detected in Airlie Beach.

South Mackay is among four sites across the state where the virus has been detected in wastewater samples.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said viral fragments of SARS-CoV-2 had been detected at wastewater treatment plants at Mackay South, Goodna, Wacol and Carole Park.

"While this does not mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, we are treating these detections seriously," Dr Young said.

"A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious."

The sample from Mackay was collected this week while the other three were collected last week.

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More COVID fragments found in Airlie Beach sewage

Coronavirus fragments were detected in Airlie Beach last week prompting Queensland Health to urge residents to be tested if symptomatic.

Airlie Beach was the first region in the state to return a COVID positive sample from sewage testing when viral fragments were detected in early September last year.

Traces were again found in sewage samples in October.

It is unknown whether the positive detection cames from someone who was infectious and symptomatic and did not get tested, or someone infectious but was yet to develop symptoms.

It is understood it could also have come from a recovered COVID case shedding the dead virus.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service recorded 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases when the pandemic peaked in Queenland in the first half of last year.

All were linked to an overseas traveller or a close contact.

Of the 1600 quarantine notices issued in the Mackay region, only seven remain active.

The drive-through testing clinic at Mackay showgrounds is open seven days.

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"I continue to urge anyone who feels unwell in these communities to get tested and isolate," Dr Young said.

"Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, and loss of taste or smell.

"If there is a case we are not yet aware of, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread."

Three new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Queensland today, all acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.