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ESR’s expanded testing confirms no detection of COVID-19 in wastewater outside of Auckland

02 September 2021

COVID-19
Wastewater surveillance
Wastewater Covid Testing Container Esr
Wastewater Covid Testing Container Esr

ESR’s expansion of its wastewater testing in response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has seen samples collected from 148 locations covering an estimated 3.8 million people, and 95 percent of the New Zealand population connected to reticulated wastewater systems.

Dr Joanne Hewitt, Senior Scientist and project co-lead at ESR said there were no unexpected detections to report based on the testing from 98 locations in the North Island and 50 locations in South Island over the past two weeks.

“The team in ESR’s Porirua laboratory and those helping with sampling and transportation around Aotearoa have pulled out all the stops to ensure there is unprecedented coverage of wastewater for testing.

“While the latest results continue to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in the Auckland region, there have been no unexpected detections around New Zealand. This includes from 26 sampling locations in Northland.”

Increased sampling in Northland took place as soon as possible following notification of the first community cases in Auckland. Over the past two weeks, samples have been taken from small populations of just over 100 to much larger areas such as Whangārei. Locations included Kerikeri, Dargaville, Hāruru, Hihi, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Paihia, Rawene, Ruakaka and Russell. However, it is important to remember that wastewater testing doesn’t capture people who are on septic tanks.

“While we believe that it is possible to detect the virus in wastewater from potentially just a single infected person, the likelihood of detection becomes higher when there are more than a few active cases in a community. So, while the absence of the virus in wastewater doesn’t guarantee that there isn’t someone potentially infectious present, but it does suggest that there aren’t lots of infected people.

“It is important to remember that wastewater sampling is just one part of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. Community testing, genome sequencing and the actions of all of us to follow public health guidelines remains crucial,” said Dr Hewitt.

ESR Wastewater testing results (Note additional samples continue to be received by ESR for testing and *= suspected cases in MIQF). 

Region  

Sample 

Week  

Week 

Week 

16-Aug 

23-Aug 

30-Aug 

Northland 

Kerikeri  

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Hāruru 

  

Not detected 

  

Northland 

Whangārei 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Ahipara 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Awanui 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Dargaville 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Hihi 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Houhora 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Kaeo 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Kaikohe 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Kaitaia 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Kaiwaka 

  

Not detected 

  

Northland 

Kawakawa 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Kohukohu 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Mangawhai 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Maungaturoto 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Ngunguru 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Oakura 

  

  

Not detected 

Northland 

Opononi 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Paihia  

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Rangiputa 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Rawene 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Ruakaka 

  

  

Not detected 

Northland 

Russell 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Taipā 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Tutukaka 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Northland 

Waiupu 

  

  

Not detected 

Northland 

Whatuwhiwhi 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Auckland 

Wellsford 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Auckland 

Omaha 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Auckland 

Warkworth 

Detected 

Detected 

  

Auckland 

Snells/Algies 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Auckland 

Army Bay  

Not detected 

  

  

Auckland 

Helensville 

Not detected 

  

  

Auckland 

North Shore (Rosedale, Albany) 

Detected 

Detected 

  

Auckland 

Eastern Auckland (Eastern Interceptor) 

Detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

Eastern Auckland MH2 (Papatoetoe/Southern Regional) 

Not detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

Eastern Auckland PS28 (Pakuranga/East Regional) 

Not detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

South Western Interceptor 

Detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

Western Auckland (Western Interceptor) 

Detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

Western Auckland PS25 (Waitakere) 

Detected 

Detected 

Detected 

Auckland 

Western Auckland PS23 (Hillsborough) 

Not detected 

Detected 

Not detected 

Auckland 

Waiheke Island 

Not detected 

  

  

Auckland 

Beachlands 

Not detected 

  

  

Auckland 

Pukekohe 

  

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Hamilton  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Waikato 

Cambridge 

  

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Matamata 

  

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Morrinsville 

  

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Te Awamutu 

  

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Taupo 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Waikato 

Kinloch 

  

  

Not detected 

Waikato 

Mangakino 

  

  

Not detected 

Waikato 

Thames 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Tokoroa 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Whitianga 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Whangamata 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Coromandel 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Waikato 

Pauanui 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Mt Maunganui 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Bay of Plenty 

Tauranga 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Bay of Plenty 

Kawerau 

Not detected 

  

  

Bay of Plenty 

Katikati 

  

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Waihi Beach  

  

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Te Puke 

  

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Edgecombe 

  

  

Not detected 

Bay of Plenty 

Maketu 

  

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Murupara 

  

  

Not detected 

Bay of Plenty 

Ōhope 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Bay of Plenty 

Opotiki 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Rotorua 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Bay of Plenty 

Whakatāne 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Gisborne 

Gisborne 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Hawke's Bay 

Napier 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Hawke's Bay 

Hastings 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Hawke's Bay 

Waipawa 

Not detected 

  

  

Hawke's Bay 

Waipukurau 

Not detected 

  

  

Hawke's Bay 

Wairoa 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Taranaki 

New Plymouth 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Hawera 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Kaponga 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Manaia 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Opunake 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Patea 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Taranaki 

Stratford 

  

Not detected 

  

Taranaki 

Waverley 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Manawatu-Wanganui 

Palmerston North 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Manawatu-Wanganui 

Whanganui 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Manawatu-Wanganui 

Levin 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Wellington  

Otaki  

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Paraparaumu/Waikanae 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Porirua 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Hutt Valley (Seaview WWTP) 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Wellington (Moa Point WWTP) 

Detected* 

Detected* 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Karori (Western) 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Masterton 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Carterton 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Wellington  

Featherston 

  

  

Not detected 

Marlborough 

Picton  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Marlborough 

Blenheim  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Nelson 

Nelson (North) 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Nelson 

South Nelson and Tasman 

  

Not detected 

  

Tasman 

Motueka 

  

Not detected 

  

West Coast 

Westport 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

West Coast 

Hokitika 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

West Coast 

Reefton  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

West Coast 

Greymouth 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Kaikōura 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Arthur's Pass 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Christchurch 

Detected* 

Detected* 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Hanmer Springs 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Amberley  

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Kaiapoi 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Oxford 

  

  

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Rangiora 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Woodend 

  

  

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Rolleston and Eastern Selwyn 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Ellesmere and Leeston 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Canterbury 

Selwyn Huts 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Castle Hill 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Lake Coleridge 

  

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Ashburton  

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Canterbury 

Methven 

Not detected 

  

  

Canterbury 

Timaru 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Otago 

Oamaru 

  

Not detected 

  

Otago 

Dunedin (Tahuna) 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Otago 

Dunedin (Mosgiel) 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Otago 

Dunedin (Green Island) 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Otago 

Milton 

  

Not detected 

  

Otago 

Balclutha 

  

Not detected 

  

Otago 

Wanaka 

Not detected 

  

  

Otago 

Cromwell 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Otago 

Queenstown 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Otago 

Alexandra 

  

Not detected 

Not detected 

Southland 

Gore 

Not detected 

Not detected 

  

Southland 

Invercargill 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Not detected 

Southland 

Bluff 

  

Not detected 

Not detected