VIRAL fragments of COVID-19 have been detected in wastewater samples taken on January 27 from Cowes, adding to the alert issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) of a weak result in Leongatha.

However while the samples were taken from the Phillip Island treatment plant, the traces of infection could have come from a wide area with these town sewerage systems feeding into the Island plant: San Remo, Ventnor, Cowes, Rhyll, Cape Woolamai, Surf Beach, Newhaven and other sewerage serviced areas on and off the Island.

Anyone who lives in or has visited the Cowes area from January 25 to 27 is urged by DHHS to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) if they have any symptoms, however mild. Anyone who was in Leongatha from January 17 to 19, is also urged to get tested if they have any symptoms.

Weak detections of the virus have now been found at Leongatha, Cowes, Gisborne, Hamilton, Castlemaine and Pakenham and  have been confirmed by further analysis. They may be due to an active infectious case or to people who have recovered from COVID-19 continuing to shed the virus.

Wastewater samples are taken at least weekly from 95 wastewater monitoring locations across Victoria, including 70 wastewater treatment plants, for early-warning of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Getting tested

People with COVID-19 may experience fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue, loss of taste and/or shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should get tested.

Bass Coast testing is available at Wonthaggi Hospital drive through from 9am to 1pm, and at the Phillip Island Health Hub Urgent Care Centre, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A COVID Rapid Response Swabbing Clinic is available from 8.30am to 4pm from Saturday, January 30 January – Monday, February 1 (inclusive) at Gippsland Southern Health Service, Leongatha Hospital site. No appointment is needed.

Clients will need to enter at the rear of the hospital via Sloane Ave and will be directed towards a marquee that is set up for testing.

What do I need to bring with me?

You need to bring your Medicare card and the details of your usual General Practitioner (GP) and/or GP practice, if you have one. If you don’t have a Medicare card then bring one form of identification, like your driver’s licence or student ID.

DHHS have a “Call-to-Test” service for people who have COVID symptoms and cannot leave home due to injury, mobility or other eligible reasons. Please call 1800 675 398 and select option 9. For more information, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/call-to-test-covid-19.