New Health Minister Martin Foley announced an expansion of the wastewater testing program to Cowes this weekend, joining 40 locations where wastewater is tested for traces of COVID-19.

IT HAS often been suggested that there may be more COVID-19 active in the Bass Coast community than recorded.

As a result of an expansion of the State Government’s wastewater testing program, to include Cowes, we might learn more about any allegedly mystery cases.

New Health Minister Martin Foley announced that Westernport Water would join South Gippsland Water in having its wastewater tested by the Department of Health and Human Services for traces of COVID-19.

Minister Foley spoke at the Saturday morning coronavirus update, saying Cowes, together with nine other centres, would expand the  testing program to 40 areas.

“While we do find fragments from time to time from through that wastewater program, that gives communities an early indication of getting out there and getting tested,” he said.

“In communities where the program indicated fragments of coronavirus, the extensive public testing that followed that advice showed there weren’t any active cases in those communities.

“But we want to make sure that as we expand more sites across regional Victoria, it gives the community the assurance that in addition to the tens of thousands of Victorians that get tested each week, we’ve got the testing areas covered.

“There is nothing more important that you can do if you’ve got any early signs of the virus than get tested. This wastewater testing is part of the other armoury public health units bring to reassuring Victorians that the safe careful reopening of Victoria (is appropriate).”

There are 30 areas across the state, including Wonthaggi, already having their wastewater tested.

The other new sites are Bacchus Marsh, Gisborne, Melton, Portland, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Cowes, Bairnsdale and Kilmore.

Victoria recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, October 10, with the total number of cases now at 20,269.

The overall total has increased by 12 due to two cases being reclassified.

There have been no new deaths from COVID-19 reported since Friday. To date, 809 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

Six of today’s 14 new cases are linked to known outbreaks and complex cases. Five cases are household contacts linked to Eastern Health Box Hill Hospital and one of those household contacts is also linked to an aged care facility.

There is also one new case linked to the Oddfellows Café in Kilmore. The other eight cases remain under investigation.

Of today’s 14 new cases, there are five cases in Banyule, three cases in Greater Dandenong, two cases in Hobsons Bay and single cases in Hume, Port Phillip and Mitchell Shire – extending Kilmore’s positive cases to 5, the entire total of active cases in regional Victoria.

There are 192 active cases in Victoria.