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12 Sydney suburbs put on COVID alert

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s northwest to get tested if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a treatment plant in Riverstone.Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in samples taken on Sunday 29 November from the…

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s northwest to get tested if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a treatment plant in Riverstone.

Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in samples taken on Sunday 29 November from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.

Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area served by this sewage treatment plant. However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.

“Particularly in light of the easing of restrictions on gatherings announced earlier today, it is important that people in these areas be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear,” a spokesman said.

“Cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, tiredness, fever or other symptoms could be COVID-19.

After testing, you must remain in isolation until a negative result is received. The only way to find new cases and prevent further transmission is to increase testing. There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW.”

Sewage testing for genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, started in July.

There is no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted via wastewater systems.

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