Toowoomba Regional Council will join the State Government’s Wastewater Surveillance Program to help with early detection of COVID-19 in the community (Photo: Wikipedia)

August 18, 2021

Toowoomba Regional Council will soon join the State Government’s Wastewater Surveillance Program which monitors sewage for fragments of the COVID-19 virus.

“At this point in time there is no suggestion there are any issues within our community however, Queensland Health wants to do everything it can to find out more about this virus and we’re happy to provide assistance however possible,” Mayor Antonio said.

“To do this, Council staff will take regular weekly samples so testing can be undertaken.

“Our staff will then liaise with Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences at University of Queensland to facilitate the program.”

The program is expected to run until at least June 30 next year.

The test detects genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19).

Queensland Health says detections may be related to a recovered case who is still shedding but is no longer infectious, or may indicate there is an infectious person living or visiting the area who has not yet been identified.

A TRC spokesperson said the monitoring of wastewater was a vital tool for monitoring COVID-19 in communities when disease transmission was too low to be identified from clinical testing.

In other States, wastewater surveillance has provided early warning of unknown cases in the community.

The testing also assists health professionals understanding more about any new variants of the virus.

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