Alarm over ‘unexpected’ wastewater virus detections in regional Victoria

Coronavirus infections could be spreading “undiscovered” through regional Victoria, health authorities have revealed.

The health department has raised the alarm over several “repeated unexpected” detections of Covid-19 in wastewater samples throughout regional Victoria.

The department said viral fragments had been detected in sewage in Wonthaggi, Portland, Cobram, Swan Hill, Ballarat, Apollo Bay and Aireys Inlet – an area spanning almost 500km.

“The detections could be an undiscovered new case or cases or could be the result of one or more people in these areas who have recovered from Covid-19 but are still shedding the virus,” the health department said.

They have urged anyone who lives in, works in or has visited the areas to watch for symptoms and get tested as soon as they develop.

COVID PRESSERCamera IconHealth department deputy secretary Naomi Bromley said 8 per cent of new cases were regional. NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty Credit: News Corp Australia

Regional Victoria recorded 122 of the state’s 1612 new cases on Monday.

The local government areas of Mildura, with 36 cases, Baw Baw with 18, Latrobe with 16, and Shepparton with 15, had the highest spikes in regional Victoria on Monday.

Health department deputy secretary Naomi Bromley said 8 per cent of the state’s new cases were now in regional areas.

The unexpected Covid-19 wastewater detections were recorded in Wonthaggi between October 4–8, Portland between September 29 and October 7, Cobram between September 29 and October 7, Swan Hill between September 29 and October 7, Ballarat, including parts of Mitchell Park and Wendouree between October 3-7, Apollo Bay between September 28 and October 6, and Aireys Inlet between September 15 and October 4.

There are 19,012 active cases in Victoria.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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