The wastewaster of eighty locations throughout Aotearoa New Zealand was tested over the week ending 8 January and highlighted new detections of the virus in Ahipara, Waihi Beach, Whangamata and Taupo.
Currently, ESR conducts testing of samples collected from locations around New Zealand. When there are known cases of COVID-19 in the community ESR may increase the number of tests being undertaken, while, when the risk is considered to be lower, it may reduce the number of sites being sampled.
A positive detection in the wastewater indicates that at least one person has been shedding SARS-CoV-2 into the wastewater in the 24 hours before each sample was collected. Just as a negative finding does not necessarily guarantee an absence of COVID-19 in the community, it should be noted that a positive finding does not necessarily mean that active COVID-19 infections are present in the community. A positive detection in the wastewater could also be due to a case in a managed isolation facility and/or a non-infectious historical case or a non-infectious recently recovered case who is still shedding low levels of SARS-CoV-2.
The frequency of sampling will vary depending on the local population, access to wastewater collection points and risk factors.