Targeted wastewater testing for coronavirus fragments is recommencing at sites across the state as health authorities identify a case of the XBB.1.5 sub-variant in a Queensland patient.
Queensland Health also revealed last week that Redland Hospital was treating 21 people with COVID-19 as of Thursday, January 5.
Updated state-wide figures show more than 10,000 people tested positive for COVID in the seven days prior to January 4, with 540 of those being treated in hospital.
The Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has nicknamed "Kraken", was identified in one Queensland patient during December.
It has now been detected in more than 25 countries, but federal health department data shows the new sub-variant currently makes up less than one percent of cases in Australia.
A Queensland Health spokesman said wastewater testing was recommencing at "specific sites" in line with federal government advice on detecting new variants entering Australia.
It is unclear in which areas the testing will resume and whether the "targeted" program will extend to Redlands and Logan.
"An initial Queensland Health wastewater surveillance program was used to monitor traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, between July 2020 and September 2022," the spokesman said.
"The program was particularly useful when vaccination rates were low and COVID-19 was not prevalent in the community, because it helped to alert people in an affected area to get tested, even if they had minor symptoms.
"In line with the federal government's announcement about the resumption of wastewater testing to detect new variants entering Australia, Queensland is in the process of recommencing targeted testing at specific sites."
Health authorities across Australia are on alert for the new sub-variant, which is a recombinant of two BA.2 sub-lineages, with the NSW Government confirming it has been detected in "small numbers" across the state.
Queensland Health said it was continuing genomic sequencing on a proportion of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses identified in patients.
"A mixture of viruses continues to be identified, with all of these being a subvariant of the original Omicron strain," a spokesman said.
"COVID-19 is endemic in the community and will continue to mutate so it is important people remain vigilant and responsive by staying home when sick, washing their hands regularly and keeping up-to-date with vaccinations."
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