A Murrumbidgee Local Health District director says Wagga's encounter with two COVID-19 infected truck drivers last week shows just how easy it could be for traveling workers to spread Delta to the region.
The two drivers stopped at a truck dealership on Hammond Avenue in East Wagga on Wednesday and so far all staff members at the business have tested negative.
MLHD Public Health Director Tracey Oakman said the city had been "fortunate" that the dealership had a good COVID-safe plan and all the drivers' contacts in Wagga could be traced.
"The Delta strain is something that transmits easily, we do have people travelling through all the time as essential workers," she said.
"While they do get tested every three days, [the Wagga exposure] example just shows you how easy it is for a worker to travel through and be positive.
"The workers did the right thing in terms of their isolation and masking up but it doesn't take much to risk an exposure."
Ms Oakman confirmed yesterday that the truck drivers who stopped in Wagga and Gundagai were the same who sparked a COVID alert in Perth after driving there via South Australia.
COVID-19 testing clinics run by the MLHD saw 312 tested in Wagga and Gundagai on Saturday and a further 229 on Sunday with zero positive test results within the health district.
The region is still under threat from a potential unidentified infected person after COVID-19 fragments were found in Temora's sewage treatment plant.
"We had a positive sewage detection in the sewage surveillance system that we have got in Temora," Ms Oakman said.
"It's an alert to everyone that potentially there has been someone who has had COVID in the Temora area; anybody with symptoms there needs to get tested."
More than 12,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed across the MLHD in the past week with the region continuing to show zero confirmed infections.
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Ms Oakman said the level of virus found in Temora sewage was not the important factor as it was an "early warning system".
"A person who has had COVID will shed that for up to four weeks so they may not be infectious in the community," she said.
COVID-19 was found in Temora's sewage just a day after the town thought it was in the clear after the potential infected worker who visited the area was confirmed to be a false positive case.
"With pathology testing there is always a small chance of people having a false positive or false negative as well," Ms Oakman said.
"Fortunately for that worker, when you are having multiple tests there is a small risk there will be a false result in one of those.
"The positive result did not fit with his clinical picture and therefor further investigations were carried out and he was found to be negative."
Ms Oakman said in Wagga the COVID safety plan at the truck dealership had provided a "really good lesson" in how to help contact tracers.
"For businesses, the better your COVID safety plan is, the less people, when a COVID case comes in contact with your business, that we have to isolate," she said.
Ms Oakman said MLHD was making progress towards having mandatory vaccinations for all staff members.
"So far, 76 per cent of staff members have had their first dose, which is awesome, and 67 per cent have had their second dose; we are on target," she said.
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