Residents urged to get tested for COVID-19

Routine testing at the Castlemaine waste water treatment facility has detected fragments of  coranavirus (COVID-19). 

Wastewater monitoring can show the possible presence of COVID-19 in a local community. However this does not mean there is an active case in the area. 

The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed low levels of viral fragments were  detected in a waste water sample on December 15.  

The result is unexpected given there are no recently confirmed cases or diagnosis of COVID-19  in the area, and there are no known cases of community transmission in Victoria at this time. 

Residents and visitors to Castlemaine, Campbells Creek, Chewton, Harcourt, Newstead and  Maldon are urged to get tested if they have any symptoms of coronavirus to reduce viral  transmission if there are any cases in the community. 

A drive though testing clinic is open  10am to 12noon Saturday December 19 and Sunday December at CHIRP Community Health at 13 Mostyn Street in  Castlemaine. For more information or to make an appointment call 5479 1000 or visit Local GP clinics within Mount Alexander Shire are also testing registered patients.  Anyone who has visited the Northern Beaches in NSW is also urged to get tested. 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the viral fragments are likely to be due to people who have recovered from COVID-19 who continue to shed the virus.  

People who have had coronavirus may shed the virus or virus fragments for several weeks, well  beyond the infectious period. Similar patterns have occurred in other locations across the state  and it is not a cause for concern. 

More testing is underway and the community will be updated as results become available. 

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Emergency Management Coordinator Luke Ryan urged  community members to remain calm but vigilant. 

“While the risks associated with the detection of viral fragments in waste water is low, this is a  good reminder that COVID-19 is part of our lives and we must all remain vigilant.” 

“This is a good time to review the COVIDSafe plan for your home or business to keep yourself,  friends, family, colleagues and customers safe. 

“Practice good hygiene, maintain physical distancing, and continue to wear a mask in places  like supermarkets, on public transport and in situations where you can’t stay at least 1.5 metres  away from others. 

“Please get tested if you show any symptoms of COVID-19 no matter how mild, and stay at  home until you get your results,” he said. 

Symptoms to watch out for are a loss or change in sense of smell or taste, fever, chills or  sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and a runny nose. 

Samples of untreated wastewater are analysed for fragments of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus  that causes coronavirus (COVID-19) – at more than 60 locations across Victoria including  Castlemaine and Bendigo.

Where to get tested 

Mount Alexander COVID-19 Screening Clinic 

The drive through pop-up testing clinic located at CHIRP Community Health during the weekend at 13 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine. 

10 am – 12noon, Saturday December 19 and Sunday December 20. 

For more information or to make an appointment call 5479 1000 or visit Local GP clinics within Mount Alexander Shire are also testing registered patients. 

If you aren’t registered with a local GP clinic visit your nearest COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinic  on weekdays or go to Bendigo Health, seven days a week. Testing clinics are also available at  Kyneton and Maryborough. 

Bendigo Respiratory Clinic 

126 Spring Gully Road, Spring Gully  

9:30am – 4:00pm, Monday – Friday. 

Testing by appointment only.  

Visit to make an appointment. 

Bendigo Health COVID-19 Screening Clinics (Walk in and drive through) Old Emergency Department  

Stewart Street, Bendigo 

10.00am -5.30pm, Monday to Sunday. 

Call 03 5454 6000 or visit 

Useful information and resources 

For more information visit the DHHS website at or call the  COVID-19 hotline on 1300 651 160. 

To view the locations of testing stations visit 

Read the Coronavirus Home Safety Plan at safety-plan. 

Find out how to create a COVIDSafe Plan at 

For local information, support or a referral to a local community organisation or service, call  Council on 1800 512 446, send an email to, or visit our  Virtual Emergency Relief Centre at 

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.