Victorian health authorities are on high alert after coronavirus fragments were found in sewage in an area where there are no active cases.

Wastewater testing has revealed viral fragments of COVID-19 in Wantirna South and Boronia on February 15 and Carrum Downs, Langwarrin, St Kilda, Caulfield and Caulfield North on February 16.

Those suburbs are east and southeast of the CBD, whereas all active cases reside in the western suburbs apart from one person in Greater Dandenong.

The health department said the wastewater samples had "weak detections" of viral fragments.

Anyone who has any symptoms of COVID-19 and lives in or has visited the areas below during the following times has been urged to get tested:

  • Wantirna South or Boronia from February 13 to 15, including parts of Bayswater, Ferntree Gully, Knoxfield and Tremont;
  • Carrum Downs or Langwarrin from February 13 to 16, including parts of Skye;
  • St Kilda East or Caulfield North from February 13 to 16, including parts of Balaclava, Caulfield and Elsternwick.

The detections come as Victoria recorded two straight days of zero locally acquired cases.

The health department said the number of active cases remained at 25, made up of 17 locally acquired cases and eight cases in hotel quarantine.

 

People are being urged to get tested after viral fragments were detected in some suburbs. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
People are being urged to get tested after viral fragments were detected in some suburbs. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

 

The active local cases reside in Moreland, Brimbank, Hume, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley and Wyndham local government areas.

The total number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn - the cluster that sent Victoria back into a third lockdown - remains at 19.

The health department has recently expanded the coronavirus wastewater testing program with 37 new sites added in the past week.

Samples are taken at least weekly from 132 wastewater monitoring locations across Victoria, including 71 wastewater treatment plants and 61 sites within Melbourne metropolitan sewage networks.

"Fragments of the virus detected in wastewater may be due to a person with COVID-19 being in the early active infectious phase or it could be because someone is continuing to shed the virus after the early infectious period," the health department said.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Alarm over wastewater COVID find



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