Detail of coronavirus test sample generic istock COVID-19
Detail of coronavirus test sample generic istock COVID-19

NO WORD: Health authorities tight-lipped over new testing

HEALTH authorities from both states remain tight-lipped about the possible methods behind opening up the Queensland border bubble.

Last week Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said an extension of Queensland’s border bubble may happen before the state totally reopens.

He mentioned there would be a series of factors to consider on border decisions, and again mentioned sewage testing was one factor.

Mr Miles said wastewater testing would play a part in the decision, with sewage analysis “proving really useful in monitoring the situation in NSW and in those border considerations”.

“The Chief Health Officer will continue to monitor the situation in other states and provide advice and make decisions in the lead-up to what we announced in the road map was an intention to expand the borders come November 1,” Mr Miles said.

>>> ORIGINAL STORY: Clarence under consideration for COVID sewage testing

When asked whether Queensland Health would request sewage in the Clarence should be tested, being the next area in line for an expanded border bubble, the health department referred The Daily Examiner back to Mr Miles’ comments.

The Daily Examiner then asked NSW Health whether the comments by the Queensland health minister and deputy premier would encourage sewage testing in the area. They pointed to their previous comments on the matter.

Clarence Valley Council water cycle manager Greg Mashiah had inquired about including the Clarence Valley in testing about six weeks ago, and at the time was told it was not an area of concern.

However, responding to questions from The Daily Examiner, a NSW Health spokeswoman said as the pandemic response continued, locations of interest can change and laboratory capacity has been increased to allow for additional sites to be added.

“Grafton is being assessed as a potential site for future testing,” she said.

These are selected by a NSW Health committee, and three weeks ago the Coffs Harbour sewage was tested for the first time, with no detections in each of the three weeks.

The current Queensland border bubble extends down to Richmond Valley Council area, which ends at New Italy, Glen Innes Severn Shire to the west of the Clarence Valley, and all of the border shires in western NSW.