Western Australia's COVID 19 wastewater surveillance program has responded to recent reports of community cases in WA by launching additional sampling locations in metropolitan Perth.
People can continue to shed the COVID virus for several weeks after they recover, even when they are no longer infectious.
Samples taken from wastewater may provide an early warning of undiagnosed COVID-19 in the community, including people that have not yet been tested or people who are asymptomatic.
Weekly testing has been ongoing since November 2020 at six of Perth's wastewater treatment plants and at 10 locations in regional WA.
New, targeted surveillance locations have been identified based on the movements of the active cases during their infectious period, and additional sampling locations will be tested for a two-week period.
These areas include Canning Vale, Booragoon, Mount Pleasant, Applecross, Kardinya, Balcatta, Westminster, Joondanna, Madeley, Nollamara, Alexander Heights, Mirrabooka, Joondalup, Landsdale, Wangara, Banksia Grove, and Wanneroo.
Initial results from seven wastewater sub-catchment area sites have come back negative.
The wastewater testing program is a collaboration between the Department of Health, PathWest, the Water Corporation and WA Country Health Service.
Health minister Roger Cook said the addition of these testing sites would help the community to stay ahead of the curve.
"The addition of these locations visited by known confirmed cases means we are taking yet another step to stay ahead of the virus and it will give further insight into whether COVID-19 is present in the community," Mr Cook said.
The Department of Health has developed an online dashboard which shows the most recent wastewater testing results for the metropolitan and regional areas.
Mr Cook said the dashboard launch was "yet another way we are keeping the public informed."