Local authorities in New South Wales have advised everyone who attended last weekend’s Bathurst 1000 to be wary of COVID-19 symptoms after the virus was detected in a sewage sample taken from wastewater.
That said, the wastewater sample doesn’t guarantee that someone in the paddock was infected. The alert read as follows:
NSW Health is tonight calling on anyone who attended the Bathurst 1000 motor race on the weekend, as well as residents of Bathurst with any symptoms that could signal COVID-19, to get tested as soon as possible after remnants of the COVID-19 virus were detected in raw sewage in the area today.
The sample comprises wastewater from over the past weekend, and could indicate current or a previous infection in someone who attended or worked at the Bathurst 1000 motor race, a visitor to Bathurst, or even a local resident.
Visitors to and residents of Bathurst must be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear that you think might just be a cold.
In addition to the crew and drivers, about 4,000 fans were allowed to attend the event. According to the Bathurst 1000 COVID Safety Plan, fans and team personnel were encouraged to socially distance and use hand sanitizer, but there’s nothing there about mandated mask wearing or temperature checks.
That said, COVID-19 cases in New South Wales are nowhere near as bad as they are in the states. This week, there were only 11 positive cases and over 67,000 tests conducted in a state of nearly eight million people.
Wastewater testing allows local governments to determine if COVID-19 is present in large populations. Infected people do not have to be actively showing symptoms to expel the virus’ genetic material. Having a small amount of COVID-19 in sewage wouldn’t be surprising in the area if there are known cases, but growing concentrations of COVID-19 would be reason for concern.