• Tony Bosworth

Health Dept says get tested after Covid detected at North Richmond treatment plant

NSW Health is calling on people in the Hawkesbury to get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at North Richmond water treatment plant.

Areas of interest in the Hawkesbury include Agnes Banks, Bowen Mountain, Grose Vale, Grose Wold, Hobartville, Londonderry, North Richmond, Richmond, Richmond Lowlands, Tennyson, The Slopes and Yarramundi.

A/Executive Director of Health Protection NSW, Dr Richard Broome, said NSW Health had been working with Sydney Water to analyse wastewater samples since July to detect any low levels of virus in the community.

“Fragments of the SARS CoV-2 virus have been found at sewage treatment plants at North Richmond in the Hawkesbury, and West Camden in South Western Sydney,” Dr Broome said.

“We’re calling on people in these catchments to come forward for testing with even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.”

Dr Broome said finding traces of the virus in sewage samples could mean there were active cases nearby.

“It can also mean there are recently recovered cases, as people who have previously been infected can continue to ‘shed’ virus fragments into the sewage system for up to four weeks after they have recovered,” he said.

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through wastewater, with studies showing the virus is deactivated by the treatment process.”

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