Kyabram Free Press

Shepp residents can travel for COVID tests

- By Myles Peterson

The Victorian Department of Health has advised that residents of Kyabram and nearby areas such as Shepparton are permitted to travel for the purposes of receiving COVID-19 tests.

The issue came to prominence this week with tens of thousands of Shepparton residents requiring testing as a result of coming into contact with a COVID-19 Tier 1 or Tier 2 exposure site. Waiting times for testing in Shepparton have risen to four hours or more since the outbreak began late last week, with some testing sites in Shepparton occasional­ly closing their queues.

Yesterday, Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp limited testing in Shepparton to those experienci­ng symptoms of the highly contagious virus and called on others to wait until today for testing.

Reports emerged of Shepparton residents travelling to Kyabram to receive testing.

“Victorians should travel to their closest testing site to get tested. If required, they can travel more than 5km to get tested, including in regional areas,” a Department of Health spokespers­on said.

“If you go to a testing site that’s busy, staff may direct you to travel to another site.”

Testing at Kyabram’s two sites, at Ky Health and Northern Oval, while well attended, have not experience­d similar strains to those in Shepparton, with queue waiting times increasing to 90 minutes, according to Kyabram Health.

Kyabram Health experience­d an extremely busy four days to Monday, conducting 1528 COVID-19 tests at the two sites.

Those seeking testing in Kyabram are advised to check Ky Health’s social media, which is regularly updated with informatio­n on availabili­ty and waiting times.

Kyabram District Health Services chief executive Anne Mcevoy said it had been a busy period, exceeding last year’s October Shepparton outbreak.

The outbreak has placed extra pressure on a range of Kyabram Health resources, including the isolation of some staff who have been exposed to Tier 1 and 2 sites in Shepparton, according to Ms Mcevoy, and some health services may have to be scaled back this week.

“I don’t see this sort of (testing) demand reducing for a few days (and) everyone will need to be retested on day 13. Potentiall­y there may be some services we will need to reduce based on fatigue management,” she said.

The Kyabram Health vaccinatio­n clinic has been prioritise­d and will continue to run.

Ms Mcevoy thanked her staff and the community for their response.

A spokespers­on for Victoria Police said that organisati­on was focusing on preventing people in Melbourne breaching travel rules by moving into regional areas.

“Victoria Police have deployed 200 police officers to the metropolit­an Melbourne, regional fringe areas to enforce Chief Health Officer directions,” the spokespers­on said.

“They are the eyes and ears of the town and if they see what looks like an influx of tourists, you can expect to be asked why you are there and not at home . . . Police have responded to a number of Melburnian­s breaching public health orders in regional areas. If anyone is caught in regional Victoria without an exemption, a fine of $5452 will be issued.”

 ??  ?? Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp.
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp.

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