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Thursday, April 15, 2021

COVID-19 viral fragments detected in City wastewater

Fragments of COVID-19 detected in a wastewater (sewage) sample collected from the City Central testing location on 9 March are most likely related to known cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine, ACT Health advised today.

No new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the ACT in the past 24 hours, and there are still five active cases, all in hotel quarantine.  

ACT Health said this was a timely reminder for all ACT residents to be tested for COVID-19 should they have any symptoms, no matter how mild. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste, while less commons symptoms include runny or blocked nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

ACT Health is continuing to monitor the situation. Further wastewater testing will be conducted early next week as part of the ongoing Wastewater Surveillance Program in the ACT.

The ACT Wastewater Surveillance Program tests untreated sewage for fragments of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) at six locations across the ACT weekly. This program is conducted in collaboration with ICON Water, the NSW Sewage Surveillance Program, and the Australian National University.

For further information, including Frequently Asked Questions about wastewater testing, visit: covid19.act.gov.au/stay-safe-and-healthy/wastewater-testing

Update on genome sequencing of positive cases in quarantine

Whole genome sequencing from the two returned travellers in hotel quarantine, who returned a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday 7 March, has come back confirming that they also have the South African COVID-19 variant (also known as B.1.351). The most likely scenario is that the fourth case, who is not related to first three cases in hotel quarantine, was exposed to the virus during transit.

Genome sequencing from the positive case reported yesterday continues with a result expected in the coming days.   

The number of negative tests recorded in the ACT is now 177,787 with 732 tests in the past 24 hours*.

As at 11.59pm Wednesday 10 March, the total number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered by the ACT Government in the ACT was 2,687**.

General information

The COVID-19 vaccine currently being rolled out in the ACT is in Phase 1a. Canberrans are encouraged to stay up to date with trusted sources of information including the ACT Government COVID-19 website. This website will be updated regularly and will we continue to let the community know about how the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out over the coming months.

For further information on the ACT Government’s response to COVID-19 visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.

*NB: The number of ‘Test results (past 24 hours)’ may not reflect the difference between the total number of negative tests today and the total from that of the previous day. This is due to a small proportion of negative test results being recorded after the reporting cut-off time and subsequently being captured. This does not affect positive test result numbers.

**NB: The total number of vaccinations in the ACT does not include the number of vaccinated staff and residents in disability and aged residential care in the ACT. This program is being delivered by the Australian Government. More information about this program is available at

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