High levels of Covid-19 detected in Newcastle, Hunter, Central Coast sewage

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New suburbs far from the Sydney outbreak have been put on high alert. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia

More than 400,000 residents across the Hunter and Newcastle area are on high alert after considerable amounts of Covid-19 fragments were found in multiple sewage treatment plants.

NSW Health’s sewage surveillance program detected high levels of virus fragments around the mid-north coast and Central Coast including Newcastle’s Burwood Beach, Shortland and Belmont.

“Concerningly there were very high rates of virus detected in the sewerage in the Hunter/Newcastle area,” premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Wednesday’s announcement marked the first detection of Covid fragments in the Burwood Beach sewage treatment plant, which is near Merewether, since April.

It serves about 225,800 people from Newcastle City area and surrounding suburbs of Dudley, Charlestown, Jesmond, Lambton, New Lambton, Mayfield, Elermore Vale, Wallsend, Kotara, Garden Suburb, Adamstown Heights, Kahibah, Highfields, Merewether, Waratah West, Georgetown and Carrington.

The Belmont sewage treatment plant serves about 115,000 people from suburbs including Belmont, Warners Bay, Gateshead, Tingira Heights, Bennetts Green, Jewells, Redhead, Eleebana, Croudace Bay, Valentine, Marks Point, Blacksmiths, Pelican, Swansea, Swansea Heads, and Caves Beach.

The Shortland sewage treatment plant near Lake Macquarie serves about 60,000 people from Cameron Park, Fletcher, Maryland, Shortland, Mayfield West, Stockton, Sandgate, Callaghan, Kooragang, Fern Bay, Minmi, Birmingham Gardens and Fullerton Cove.

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Premier Gladys Berejiklian put more than 400,000 residents on high alert after concerning wastewater testing results. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia

“These sewage treatment plants serve a number of areas and we will put those on the (NSW Health) website but in particular we want to call out for all of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie,” Dr Chant said.

“It is critical that we can get those testing levels up to really understand as soon as possible whether there are any undiagnosed cases there so we can make the best public health decisions.”

There was also Covid detected at Coffs Harbour sewage treatment plant, which serves about 57,400 people from the urban areas of Coffs Harbour and Bonny Hills, which serves about 7,010 residents of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Government Area.

Detections were also made at the Mudgee sewage treatment plant, which serves around 12,000 residents of the urban areas of Mudgee.

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