LESS than 24 hours from an announcement about how regional NSW will potentially emerge from lockdown, there has been another positive detection of COVID virus fragments at the Bonny Hills wastewater treatment plant.
It is the third time virus fragments have been detected at the Bonny Hills site and Mid North Coast Local Health District is urging people in the region to come forward for testing at any of the drive-through testing locations that have been established in Port Macquarie-Hastings.
The sewage samples were taken from the Bonny Hills sewage treatment plant on 6 September 2021.
There is a drive-through testing clinic at the Lake Cathie sports fields, one at the Wauchope Showground and the station at regional stadium of Boundary Street in Port Macquarie.
Last week, virus fragments were also detected in Wauchope and West Kempsey sewage.
MNCLHD chief executive Stewart Dowrick said any detection of virus fragments in the highly sensitive sewage testing process is a cause of concern.
There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 anywhere in the Mid North Coast Local Health District.
The Bonny Hills sewage treatment plant serves around 7,000 residents of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area.
"No recent cases have been detected in this location, so people are urged to monitor for the onset of symptoms and, if they appear, to immediately be tested and isolate until a negative result is received," Mr Dowrick said.
"Detection of virus fragments in sewage can help provide early warning of undetected infections in an area but can also be due to shedding of the virus by someone who may have previously had the illness and may no longer be infectious.
"It can also be the result of a person with COVID-19 who may have visited the community and has since left the area."
As well as being present in stools, viral fragments can enter the sewer when washed off hands and bodies through sinks and showers.
Usual sewage treatment processes inactivate, or kill, the COVID-19 virus.
Vaccinations DO NOT produce positive sewage samples as there is no virus in the vaccine.
"We strongly encourage people in the area to remain vigilant and get tested for even the mildest of symptoms," Mr Dowrick said.
"The sewage detection is very sensitive but it is not the only tool we use. The most important tool we have is COVID testing, and it yes, can be just one person, it is that sensitive.
"It could suggest there are people in the communities of the Mid North Coast, particularly Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Camden Haven areas who may have COVID."
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include a runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, nausea, diarrhoea or muscle aches.
Anyone feeling unwell should immediately get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative result, so that any potential cases in the community are identified as quickly as possible.
There are COVID-19 testing clinics located across the Mid North Coast LHD at Lake Cathie, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Nambucca Heads, South West Rocks, Wauchope and Woolgoolga.
A full list of clinic locations and opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics.
NSW recorded 1480 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state had reached 75 per cent first dose of vaccinations and 42 per cent of the population was now fully vaccinated.
The deaths recorded to 8pm were:
There have been 148 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since the start of the outbreak on June 16, and 204 in total since the start of the pandemic.
There have been 31,914 locally acquired cases reported since when the first case in this outbreak was reported.
There are 1136 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 194 people in intensive care, 78 of whom require ventilation.
The 1480 cases break down into these local health districts:
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said there were 27 new cases in western NSW to 8pm.
17 of those cases were in the Dubbo LGA, six in Bourke, one in Walgett, and three in Bathurst.
"In the if far west local health district, there were seven cases. All seven cases were in Wilcannia. In the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region overnight, there were 34 cases," Mr Barilaro said.
"24 cases were in the Wollongong local government area, seven cases in the Shellharbour local government area, two cases from the Shoalhaven local government area and one case currently under investigation in the Kiama LGA."
He said in the Hunter New England local health district, there were 11 cases overnight, three cases in Port Stephens LGA, two in the Newcastle LGA, five from the Lake Macquarie LGA and one from the Dungog LGA.
"In southern NSW, there were zero cases to 8pm last night but we've been notified this morning of two additional cases, one in Batemans Bay and one in Cooma.
"The Batemans Bay case is a contact of a previous case announced a couple of days ago."
Mr Barilaro also congratulated the community of Forbes.
"Fantastic result in the past seven days, moving first-dose vaccination rates from 36 per cent to 63 per cent and again I call out to regional and rural NSW, get vaccinated."
NSW Health's sewage surveillance program has recently detected fragments of the virus at the Bonny Hills sewage treatment in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area.
NSW Health administered 31,064 COVID-19 vaccines in the 24 hours to 8pm, including 7824 at the vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park.
The total number of vaccines administered in NSW is now 7,689,120 with 2,889,178 doses administered by NSW Health to 8pm last night and 4,799,942 administered by the GP network and other providers to 11:59pm on Monday 6 September 2021.
There were 130,341 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day's total of 100,745.
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