More than 20,000 Queenslanders have been tested for COVID-19 over the past two days and Queensland’s Chief Health Officer is treating the discovery of viral fragments of COVID-19 in wastewater at four locations across the state with “absolute caution”.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said routine wastewater tests collected on December 29 and 30 returned positive results in Warwick, Stanthorpe, Loganholme and Cairns.

Dr Young said it was particularly concerning in light of the ongoing situation in New South Wales and Victoria.

“A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus,” Dr Young said in a statement.

“Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious.

“While this doesn’t necessarily mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, I am treating this with absolute caution given the emerging situation across several other states.”

It comes as Queensland recorded two new COVID-19 cases today, both overseas acquired and detected while in hotel quarantine.

Dr Young said it was important anyone in the Warwick, Stanthorpe, Loganholme and Cairns communities get tested immediately if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild.

“In particular, if you have been to Victoria or hotspots in New South Wales, please come forward and get tested regardless of whether or not you have symptoms,” Dr Young said.

“If there is a case in the community, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread and protect the great progress Queensland has made in recent months.

“The community has rallied to get tested — we have performed over 20,000 tests in the past two days alone.

“Please remember, if your local testing clinic is crowded, consider attending another one.

“But I also want to reassure the community, local drinking water is thoroughly treated through processes that are designed to remove or kill microorganisms before they reach your taps — so there is no risk when drinking water, showering, watering the garden, swimming or other activities.”

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