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COVID fragments found in Warrnambool wastewater

Tuesday, 02 Feb 2021

We're urging anyone with COVID-like symptoms who lives in, or visited, Warrnambool between January 25–27 to get tested straight away.

This follows the government this afternoon confirming the positive detection of COVID-19 fragments in Warrnambool’s wastewater during these three days last week.

‘A low-level detection of viral fragments from wastewater in Warrnambool between January 25 and 27 has been confirmed and anyone who lives in or visited Warrnambool last Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday needs to get tested if they have any symptoms. Increased testing will help identify positive cases earlier and this is critical to minimising the transmission of this highly contagious virus’ says SWH CEO Craig Fraser.

The detection of viral fragments in wastewater does not always mean there’s an active case of COVID-19 in the area. Viral fragments in wastewater can be due to an active infectious case but it can also be due to someone who has recovered from COVID continuing to ‘shed’ the virus. While they may not be considered infectious, it can take several weeks for someone to stop this shedding. The person or people shedding the virus may be local or visiting the area. Prolonged viral shedding periods can be a feature of coronavirus infection so it’s not unusual to detect low-level viral fragments in wastewater. Increased wastewater monitoring occurs at all sites with any detections.

This is a timely reminder that our communities need to remain vigilant. Anyone experiencing even the mildest COVID symptoms must get tested.

Our Warrnambool respiratory assessment clinic is open seven days a week, from 8am–4pm. To make an appointment please call 5563 1666.

Further information about the wastewater testing program can be found here:

Page last updated: 4 February 2021

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