South Australian health authorities say a positive COVID-19 result in wastewater from Adelaide’s CBD is either from an undetected case in the community or shedding from an old infection.
- Coronavirus was detected in wastewater from Adelaide’s CBD again overnight
- SA Health says it is either from an undetected case or an old case
- The state has today recorded one new case of COVID-19 in a returned traveller
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Emily Kirkpatrick said further testing had ruled out that the result was not a mistake and it did not come from a returned traveller or a medi-hotel worker.
SA Health first reported on Sunday that it had detected coronavirus in sewage from the north-eastern portion of Adelaide’s CBD, where the majority of Adelaide Fringe festival events are held.
Tests since then have continued to show a positive result.
Dr Kirkpatrick said the results were definitely correct.
“We are seeing in the wastewater and again, concerns last night on repeat testing done at Bolivar, we are still continuing to see that positive result come through, which is concerning for SA Health.”
However, for the test result to have come from an old case, it would need to be multiple people who had the disease, Dr Kirkpatrick said.
“That’s why we’re working on the theory that it could be a family group that’s come over for the Fringe events or come back to South Australia — returned from overseas — and we’re also thinking around with the recent outbreaks in Victoria,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.
“Could we have individuals who have come over from Victoria who are still shedding the virus?”
The area north of Pirie Street where the wastewater comes from includes medi-hotels for return overseas travellers, but not the Tom’s Court Hotel where positive cases are taken.
About 12,000 people live or work in the area.
Highest test reading in months
Dr Kirkpatrick said the level of coronavirus found in the sewage was as high as seen during November’s Parafield cluster.
“We haven’t seen these levels since the Parafield cluster and we’ve had a number of individuals within our medi-hotels in January and February and we haven’t seen this same detection, so it is very concerning,” she said.
SA Water senior manager of water expertise and research Daniel Hoefel said the sub-catchment the wastewater came from also included suburbs just outside of the CBD, such as College Park, Hackney, Kent Town, Norwood, Rose Park and Toorak Gardens.
He said the corporation had “ramped up” testing following the first positive result.
“We’re looking at this on a daily basis now and obviously working very closely with SA Health on those results,” he said.
No community cases were detected following positive test results in wastewater from Bolivar and Angaston in September.
SA Health is urging anyone who has been out in the city to get tested if they have even mild symptoms.
Just 2,191 tests were carried out in SA yesterday.
Today, the state recorded one new case of COVID-19 in a returned traveller from overseas who is in a medi-hotel.
There are currently four active cases.
South Australian Police Commissioner and emergency coordinator Grant Stevens said it should be possible to identify if the viral traces were from a medi-hotel or from interstate or overseas visitors with more testing over the next few days.
He said the presence of COVID–19 in wastewater meant people should remain vigilant about testing and QR check-ins.
“You don’t have to go too far to see people who are not remembering or disregarding the obligation to check in if you go into a business premises,” he said.
“If you couple that with the wastewater testing results, I think it’s a strong reminder that we’re not out of this yet.”