Urgency for testing and vaccination

Testing carried out by Health NSW at Cobar’s sewerage treatment plant has twice revealed there have been fragments of COVID-19 in our sewerage.

While the NSW Health’s website is show-ing one positive COVID case listed for Co-bar, Cobar Shire Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said the case was however de-tected in Mudgee.
As of Monday night at 8pm, the Western NSW Local Health District reports Cobar has not yet recorded a positive COVID case how-ever fragments of COVID-19 have been de-tected in two separate tests of our sewerage system.
Mr Vlatko advised the Cobar community on Friday via social media that NSW Health’s sewerage surveillance program had first detect-ed fragments of COVID-19 in a sample taken last Tuesday, August 17. He said a second positive result came from a test on Saturday August 21.
“Based on the outcomes in other communi-ties, sewerage testing is a reliable indicator that there are infectious people in our community,” Mr Vlatko said.
He said with just 828 COVID tests carried out in our area (as of Sunday), and given that the sewerage treatment plant services a popula-tion of just over 4,000 people, the current test-ing rate only represents 20 per cent of the peo-ple the plant services.
“That leaves 80 per cent of our community untested,” Mr Vlatko said.
“We strongly encourage Cobar residents to come forward and get tested—even with the mildest symptoms.”
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro labelled Cobar “an area of concern” following the two positive sewerage test results.
Mr Barilaro said sewerage testing has been one of their most important testing tools in detecting COVID-19 in communities. “Often nine out of 10 times it actually does offer up cases,” Mr Barilaro said.
He encourages Cobar residents to be vigilant, to monitor for symptoms and get tested.
Cobar’s Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) met on Monday and has called for all members of the community to come forward and be tested at either the Cobar Health Service, the Cobar Respiratory Clinic or current patients of Dr Indra may make arrange-ments with him.
Residents are also urged to get vaccinated at the Cobar Health Service clinic (this Friday by appointment) or take advantage of a mobile pop-up vaccination clinic that will run in Cobar from September 6 to September 8.
Due to ongoing concerns about community transmission, the NSW Government’s lock-down has been extended to August 28 across NSW, with masks now required to be worn in all indoor and outdoor settings. (See article Page 7 for more details about wearing masks.)
Stay at home rules continue to apply unless you have a reasonable excuse to leave. (See article on Page 15 for the NSW Government’s list of reasonable excuses.)