Adelaide wastewater COVID-19 traces remain high but decreasing, SA Health authorities say



Testing results have shown a decrease in the levels of COVID-19 traces in Adelaide’s wastewater.

SA Health authorities first reported on Sunday they had detected coronavirus in sewage from the north-eastern portion of Adelaide’s CBD, where the majority of Adelaide Fringe festival events are held.

On Thursday, SA Health said while results from testing on Wednesday night were still high, there was a decrease in levels.

SA Health said the two most likely explanations were virus shedding in old cases along with the concentration of visitors in the Adelaide CBD or undetected cases within the community.

The northern parts of Adelaide’s CBD have been frequented by tens of thousands of people during the festival season.

For several days, authorities have been urging anyone who has had any coronavirus symptoms and has been in the CBD in the past week to get a COVID-19 test.

It comes as the state recorded three new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

One case was a woman in her thirties who recently returned from overseas and has been in a medi-hotel since her arrival.

The other two cases are a man in his twenties and a woman in her fifties who are both considered to have old infections.

SA Health said they had included the latter cases in South Australia’s numbers because the man and woman had not been diagnosed and counted overseas.

‘Very small’ chance positive results are from local case

Epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said the odds the positive results stemmed from a local case were very low.

“We’ve got a history now of no community transmission across Australia that extends beyond multiple incubation periods,” she said.

While the testing area does not include medi-hotels housing positive cases, it does include hotels where returned travellers carry out their quarantine period.

“Because we don’t test our returned travellers every day, it is possible they are picking up a family who is positive in hotel quarantine but hasn’t yet been detected through the internal testing process,” Ms Bennett said.

Ms Bennett said people who have had the infection can intermittently shed the virus for up to three months

“Holidays, festivals, movement of people, can shift the pattern and then you might start to detect some positives if you’ve got these ‘shedders’ moving through,” she said.

“We hope it’s that, but let’s get the testing numbers up so we detect anything else that might be going on very early and then it won’t be a problem even with the festivals underway.”


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