Media release
21 May 2021

Today we have become aware of a situation that we want residents in the Epping area to be aware of.

Last night, the Department of Health picked up traces of COVID-19 in the wastewater around the Epping and Wollert area.

We are encouraging anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and loss or change in sense of smell or taste – to get tested.

There is a testing site at Northern Hospital in Epping, which is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm and we’re also setting up a pop-up testing site at Epping Stadium on Harvest Home Road in Epping which is open 9.30 – 5pm from tomorrow.

These types of traces of coronavirus in wastewater are getting detected regularly – with more people leaving Hotel Quarantine – cleared of the virus but still shedding, and moving around our community.

While the detections may be due to someone who has had COVID-19 that is no longer infectious continuing to ‘shed’ the virus, it is also possible that it is due to an active but undiagnosed infectious case.

This detection is of note because there are public exposure sites in the area relating to the Wollert case, who has been isolating in a health hotel outside the catchment.

When we get a detection like this, we go back and re-investigate.

Through the course of these investigations today, we are amending an exposure site location.

Our investigations reveal the individual shopped at the Woolworths Epping North supermarket, corner Epping Road and Lyndarum Drive (2 Lyndarum Drive), from 5.40pm to 6.38pm on Saturday 8 May.

The original exposure site was Woolworths Epping, corner of Cooper and High Streets, Epping, on 8 May – a location which is adjacent to other exposure sites. This was an error.

Once the wastewater detects were confirmed, the team followed up with Primary Close Contacts in the catchment area and conducted a full review.

Through that review, and through the wastewater surveillance that prompted it, we were able to uncover this new information and share it.

What this means is, out of an abundance of caution, anyone who has been to the following exposure site has to get tested and isolate until they return a negative result:

  • Woolworths Epping North, Corner Epping Rd and Lyndarum Drive (2 Lyndarum Drive), Epping (North) on 8 May between 5.40pm – 6.38pm

That includes staff, and Victorian public health officials have been in contact with Woolworths to arrange staff identification and testing.

And again, anyone in the Epping and Wollert area with symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and loss or change in sense of smell or taste – to get tested.