Queensland’s wastewater testing regime, in place across 13 communities around the state, has previously detected similar positive results around the south-east and further up the coast in Rockhampton and the Whitsundays.
While the instances were at one stage described as “mysterious” by Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said they were a reminder for those with symptoms of the virus to get tested.
A Queensland Health spokesman said the program could indicate the “possibility” of undetected cases.
“People shouldn’t be alarmed but they shouldn’t be complacent, either. If you are sick with symptoms which could be due to COVID-19, go and get tested and then stay home until you get your results,” he said.
“There are no known outbreaks in Cairns and have not been for some time.”
A drive-through testing clinic is available for those in the Cairns area in Aumuller Street, along with the hospital fever clinic.
Queensland has gone 70 days without a case of community transmission, with all recent cases detected in hotel quarantine. A total of 14 active cases remain in the state, all of which in hospital.
After Greater Sydney and Victoria passed 28 days without the virus spreading undetected, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced an easing of border restrictions from next week which would allow travellers from both jurisdictions to freely enter Queensland.
The change, to take effect from Tuesday, will also mean the dismantling of police border checkpoints and leave only Adelaide as a declared hotspot, with travellers from the South Australian city required to fly into Queensland and quarantine for 14 days.
North Queensland had been hit particularly hard by the drop in both international and domestic tourists stemming from border closures. This led to the Brisbane-to-Cairns route at one stage becoming the busiest in the country.
The northern city is now set to see the return of direct flights from interstate, with Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind describing the reopening of the state to Sydneysiders and Melburnians in time for Christmas as the “last piece of the puzzle” for domestic tourism.
Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.