An aerial view of the Gympie sewage treatment plant near Widgee Crossing.
An aerial view of the Gympie sewage treatment plant near Widgee Crossing.

Gympie wastewater still not being tested for COVID

THERE is no push nor any apparent plan to include the Gympie region in the state-wide wastewater surveillance program for COVID-19, despite recent positive tests being recorded immediately south and north of Gympie, at Maryborough, Nambour and Maroochydore.

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Even at Rainbow Beach, which is experiencing one of its busiest summers ever due to the border closures, its stunning natural setting and close drive proximity to Brisbane and the Darling Downs, there is no plan to test the wastewater for traces of coronavirus.

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Queensland Health has partnered with researchers from the University of Queensland and the CSIRO to deliver the wastewater surveillance program for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Visitors at Rainbow Beach have been huge through the summer of 2020-21.
Visitors at Rainbow Beach have been huge through the summer of 2020-21.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said yesterday more testing locations might be added to the program in the future.

Determining locations for sewage testing relies on various factors including infrastructure, personnel resources and sample transport logistics.

Participation from local councils is not mandatory and Qld Health works closely with councils to ensure the testing can be carried out if they want to participate. Gympie Regional Council indicated it had no idea if or when Queensland Health would choose to test the region’s wastewater.

Multiple sites from Port Douglas out to Warwick, Stanthorpe and down to the Gold Coast are regularly tested for genetic material, which may be related to a recovered case who is still shedding but is no longer infectious, or may indicate that there is an infectious person living or visiting the area who has not yet been identified.

An aerial view of the Gympie sewage treatment plant near Widgee Crossing.
An aerial view of the Gympie sewage treatment plant near Widgee Crossing.

The program is transitioning from a pilot program to routine monitoring at more sites but a Queensland Health spokesman said yesterday...

The Queensland Health website states that locations for sample collection have been chosen to represent larger population centres, popular holiday towns and some communities close to the border with NSW.

Gympie Times


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