COVID-19 wastewater testing expanded to Naracoorte

COVID-19 MEASURES: Stephen Wade said having robust testing and surveillance in place for COVID-19 is key to be able to relax restrictions and reopen SA's borders.

COVID-19 MEASURES: Stephen Wade said having robust testing and surveillance in place for COVID-19 is key to be able to relax restrictions and reopen SA's borders.

COVID-19 surveillance in South Australia has been strengthened even further with wastewater testing expanding to Tailem Bend and Naracoorte.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said having robust testing and surveillance in place for COVID-19 is key to be able to relax restrictions and reopen SA's borders.

"Comprehensive testing for COVID-19 has been one of the key pillars of the Marshall Liberal Government's strong response to COVID-19," Minister Wade said.

"One significant advantage of wastewater testing is that it does not rely on people getting clinically tested, meaning it can potentially pick up cases that we are not aware of, triggering further investigations by the expert public health team.

"Expanding our testing along two of our significant major roads will ensure we are actively monitoring parts of our state that could show the early signs of a potential outbreak."

"This also puts us in a good position to protect the local community to slow the spread of any outbreaks which may occur."

The Department for Health and Wellbeing's Principal Water Quality Advisor, Dr David Cunliffe, said the state's surveillance program was reinforced by similar testing near the borders of New South Wales and Victoria.

"One benefit of this surveillance program is that we can share our results between states and make adjustments to our testing as the pandemic evolves," Dr Cunliffe said.

"While clinical COVID-tests remain the gold standard for detection, this surveillance is another essential weapon in our fight against COVID-19 and it's important that we use every tool in our armoury."

SA Water's Senior Manager of Water Expertise and Research, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said results so far had been encouraging.

"Our scientists continue to keep a close eye on the state's sewage and it's pleasing to see there haven't been any positive detections of COVID-19 in the past few months by our highly-sensitive testing, instilling further confidence in our understanding of the virus' presence," Dr Hoefel said.

"Supplementing our sampling locations with our treatment plants at Tailem Bend and Naracoorte will help ensure we have an additional lens on communities close to our borders.

"We're also continuing to improve our testing approach to reduce the time taken to obtain a result, and with our monitoring tool capable of detecting as few as four individual virus particles, we're in a strong position to arm SA Health with vital intel should we discover any traces of COVID-19."

In addition to Naracoorte and Tailem Bend, wastewater sampling is occurring at SA Water wastewater treatment plants at Bolivar, Glenelg, Christies Beach, Angaston, Lobethal and Mount Gambier.