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Taking samples for COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 sewage sampling commences in the Clarence Valley

The first Clarence Valley sewage samples for COVID-19 were taken from Council’s sewage treatment plants last week.

Samples were taken from the Yamba, Grafton and North Grafton treatment plants and sent for analysis to a specialist lab in Sydney.

Greg Mashiah, Manager of Water Cycle at Clarence Valley Council said the tests were taken on behalf of NSW Public Health.

“Following requests from both Council and Clarence Valley residents, it is pleasing that NSW Health has agreed to Council’s participation in the COVID-19 NSW Sewage Surveillance Research Program.”

“Sewage testing for COVID-19 can potentially give an indication of undetected infections in the community. The data collected from the tests will support NSW Health’s response to COVID-19.”

“If the virus is located in the samples it can mean there are people in the community who are infectious, or that there are people in the community who have recently recovered and are no longer infectious, or that someone with COVID-19 has visited the community and since left the area.”

“Weekly COVID-19 sampling will continue to be undertaken from the three Sewage Treatment Plants for at least four weeks,” Mr Mashiah added.

COVID-19 sewage testing is also taking place in Byron Bay, Ballina, Ocean Shores, Hastings Point and Kingscliff as well as in Coffs Harbour. So far Byron Bay is the only location to have returned a positive result and this was back on 1 August.

NSW Health is collecting the samples in order to support its pandemic response. All data from the NSW Sewage Surveillance Research Program will be published in the COVID-19 surveillance reports published by NSW health.

Despite low case numbers, it is important to maintain social distancing and remain vigilant for symptoms, however mild.

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