Questions remain over Whitsunday COVID sewage result
A QUESTION mark still remains over the COVID positive sewage test in Airlie Beach earlier this month as Queensland Health extends its wastewater surveillance program.
The pilot sewage testing method was launched in July and was originally set to end in October.
However, a Queensland Health spokesman said the program was now transitioning to be a regular part of the state's COVID response.
"More locations will be monitored, and more wastewater samples taken, to improve coverage and increase accuracy of the results," he said.
Airlie Beach was the first region in the state to return a COVID positive sample from sewage testing when viral fragments were detected in early September.
More traces of COVID-19 were found in sewage samples in October, however no further results have been made available since then.
"We have been announcing results as they become available and are confirmed, and it is intended to publish all results from the surveillance program on the Queensland Health website," the Queensland Health spokesman said.
It is unknown whether the positive detection comes from someone who was infectious and symptomatic and did not get tested, or someone infectious but was yet to develop symptoms.
It is understood it could also have come from a recovered COVID case shedding the dead virus.
A temporary testing clinic was set up at the Airlie Beach lagoon and Whitsunday Regional Council have ramped up inspections on business across the region.
In September, council officers conducted 1746 COVID-19 inspections at restaurants, pubs, hotels, hairdressers, nail technicians and tattooists.
This was nearly triple the number of inspections in August where 660 inspections took place.
Council's community services director Julie Wright said the council had appointed an officer purely for COVID inspections but this was not a reaction to the positive sewage tests.
"We have had really positive responses," she said.
"People are great, they're really adhering to the restrictions."
Ms Wright said there were "very, very few" businesses who had been found breaching COVID restrictions.