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COVID-19: GP Alert (17 December 2020)

December 17, 2020

Positive COVID-19 wastewater detection in Carole Park and Wacol - Testing recommended for anyone with symptoms of COVID

Traces of COVID-19 have been detected in recent wastewater tests in the Wacol and Carole Park Wastewater Treatment Plants which serve some suburbs in the West Moreton region. Positive results do not necessarily mean there are active cases in the area and it is possible that someone who has previously had COVID-19 is still shedding dead virus particles. However, there is a possibility that there are undetected cases in the community.

Social media releases have been issued advising residents in the area to not be complacent and seek COVID-19 testing should they have any symptoms, no matter how mild. Symptoms may include fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, breathing difficulties, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

GPs are asked to please remain vigilant and have a very low threshold for COVID-19 testing. Testing for COVID-19 is strongly encouraged, even if patients present for other medical concerns but have experienced recent symptoms, no matter how mild.

NSW cases update

Sydney is now responding to six local coronavirus cases after three more people tested positive in the city's Northern Beaches region. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard today confirmed that in addition to the three cases announced yesterday, three more people had tested positive in the city’s north, including a woman in her 50s (who is an aged care worker at the Pittwater Palms Avalon Facility), and a man in his 60s. Yesterday, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s from the Northern Beaches returned positive test results for COVID-19. According to NSW Health, the pair visited a number of cafes and beaches over the weekend.

Any person currently in Queensland who has been in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area from 13 December onwards is asked to visit the NSW Health Alerts page to check if they visited any of the affected venues or locations and follow the advice provided. Some of these venues are considered high-risk exposures, and anyone who has attended these venues is considered a close contact and should get tested and isolate for 14 days even if they receive a negative result.

Another case was also identified yesterday: a 45-year-old man responsible for transporting international air crew. A link between these cases is yet to be identified. There is additional information on venues this case has attended on the NSW Health Alerts page.

Anyone considering travelling to the Northern Beaches area is asked to exercise caution and wait a further 24 hours to see how the cluster unfolds, as during this time period, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer will consider if other steps need to be put in place.