NSW Health has again advised that fragments of the COVID-19 virus have been detected in the Merimbula sewage treatment plant.
This detection was from a sample taken over a period from Sunday 29 August and the morning of Monday 30 August.
Bega, Bermagui and Eden samples did not return a detection of the virus during the same period.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick said while there are still no known cases in the Bega Valley, the persistent presence of fragments continues to signal the possibility of undetected cases in the community.
“The detection of fragments of the virus at the Merimbula sewage treatment plant three times in two weeks is of concern,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“The Merimbula sewage treatment plant serves approximately 7,000 people covering Merimbula, Pambula, Pambula Beach, South Pambula, Mirador, Berrambool and parts of Millingandi.
“Also regularly emptied commercial pump-out tank systems in the shire feed into the Merimbula sewage treatment plant.
“We urge people across the Bega Valley, and in the Merimbula and associated communities particularly, to get tested if they have any cold-like symptoms, such as headache, nausea, sore throat, runny nose, cough, loss of smell or taste, or fever.
“If symptoms appear, people must isolate and get tested immediately, and remain isolated until a negative result is received.”
Council is sending samples from the sewage treatment plants in Eden, Bermagui, Merimbula and now Bega, twice weekly to NSW Health for testing.
“Since the virus fragments were first detected last week, the number of people getting tested for COVID-19 has been relatively low.
“It’s critical we see higher COVID-19 testing numbers if we are going to find the source of these virus fragments.”
South East Regional Hospital’s COVID-19 drive through testing clinic is open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 4pm.
A full list of COVID-19 testing clinic sites and hours is available at: www.snswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/our-services/infectious-disease/covid-19.
For the latest COVID-19 updates and advice, please go to www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19