Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles says the second negative COVID sewage test does not mean the first test on the Airlie Beach sample was incorrect. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles says the second negative COVID sewage test does not mean the first test on the Airlie Beach sample was incorrect. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

What second sewage result means for the Whitsundays

THE Health Minister says a negative result from a second COVID sewage test does not mean the reading of the initial test was incorrect.

Viral fragments of COVID-19 were detected in a sewage sample from the Cannonvale-Airlie Beach sewage treatment plant last week.

However, a Queensland Health spokesman confirmed earlier this week the second sewage test returned a negative result.

In a press conference this morning, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said this did not disprove the validity of the original test.

“That does not mean that first test result was wrong,” he said.

“The first test result was right but subsequent test results were negative.”

A testing clinic was set up at Airlie Beach Lagoon after a COVID fragment was found in sewage. Picture: Laura Thomas
A testing clinic was set up at Airlie Beach Lagoon after a COVID fragment was found in sewage. Picture: Laura Thomas

It is understood a second test on the first sewage sample proved the positive result was correct.

Earlier this week a Queensland Health spokesman said the previous positive result could have come from a person who tested positive for COVID-19 previously but was shedding the virus.

“People who have had COVID-19 can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious,” he said.

Mr Miles said sewage in the region would continue to be tested in collaboration with the University of Queensland.

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Sewage testing is also under way in other locations across the state including in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

A temporary testing clinic has been set up in front of the passenger terminal at Port of Airlie and is open from 9am to 4pm.

Residents with any flu-like symptoms have been urged to get tested.


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