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Repeat positive wastewater results

29 January 2021

Fragments of COVID-19 have been repeatedly detected in the Coombabah, Cleveland and Carole Park sewage catchments.

Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said the repeat detection in these locations, in addition to the increasing detections in other South East Queensland catchments is becoming more concerning.

“In the past two weeks, 16 sewage catchments have detected viral fragments of COVID-19 in various locations across the state,” Dr Bennett said.

“Cleveland and Carole Park are of particular concern as we have no hotel quarantine locations that feed into these sewage systems.

“That means there could potentially be an undetected case in the community.

“That is why we are urging anyone with any symptoms, no matter how mild to come forward and get tested.

“Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, and loss of taste or smell.

“This is especially important now more than ever, as we know the new variants emerging overseas are more contagious than previous variants we have seen in Queensland.

“If there is a case we are not yet aware of, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread.

“It is, of course, also possible that these detections relate to previous COVID-19 cases who can shed viral fragments for a couple of months after they are no longer infectious.”

Dr Bennett said other sewage catchments have also repeatedly tested positive for COVID-19 fragments across the state.

“Gibson Island and Pulgul (Hervey Bay) have had positive detections in the last three weeks,” Dr Bennett said.

“Cairns North, Maryborough and Loganholme have also seen multiple detections in the past four weeks.

“While some of these catchments are in areas where cases have been detected among international arrivals, it is very important that everyone monitors their health, and comes forward for testing if they have any symptoms at all.”

For more information about Queensland’s wastewater surveillance program, visit

To access a full list of COVID-19 testing locations, with interactive map and post code search, visit:

If your local testing clinic is crowded, consider attending another one.


Media contact:               3708 5376

Last updated: 29 January 2021