Shepparton News

Virus detected again

- By Caitlin Cassidy

Fragments of COVID-19 have been detected in Shepparton wastewater for a third time this month, as health authoritie­s urge anyone in the area with ‘‘the slightest of symptoms’’ to get tested without delay.

The catchment, which includes Shepparton, Shepparton North and parts of Orrvale and Kialla, first tested positive for traces of COVID-19 on August 10 and 11.

Repeat detections of wastewater samples have since been discovered on August 13 and 16.

GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp urged the community to remain alert to COVID-19 symptoms.

“Anyone from the Greater Shepparton area who is unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell should get tested immediatel­y and stay at home,” he said.

“Do not go about your normal day-to-day activities such as work or going out in the community. Please do the right thing and do not place your . . . community at risk.”

Victoria’s acting chief health officer Ben Cowie said while the testing program wasn’t ‘‘necessaril­y a smoking gun’’, it provided a good signal of COVID-19 and a line of intelligen­ce to follow.

“Testing numbers have increased substantia­lly (in Shepparton), but we can do more, so please anyone with the slightest of symptoms come forward and get tested,” he said.

GV Health COVID-19 vaccine program executive lead Alicia Cunningham said COVID-19 tests across GV Health’s hubs had doubled since the news first broke of the potential threat of COVID-19 in the community.

“Prior to the wastewater detection, GV Health was conducting approximat­ely 100 COVID-19 tests per day,” she said.

“Since then, we’ve been testing around 200 people per day. This is very encouragin­g.”

The news came as 57 new locally acquired cases of COVID19 were reported yesterday, with all but three cases linked to current outbreaks.

Thirteen of yesterday’s cases were infectious while in the community and 44 were in isolation.

“57 seems a very big number . . . but when the vast majority of those have been in isolation for their infectious period, that’s exactly what we want, that is the system working exactly as it should work,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Exposure sites have swelled above 550 but none have been added in regional Victoria since the latest Delta outbreak began.

The new cases were detected from 49,607 test results, with 27,581 vaccine doses administer­ed across state-run sites.

Wednesday’s vaccinatio­n numbers push Victoria beyond the milestone of two million COVID19 vaccine doses administer­ed across state-run vaccinatio­n sites since the rollout began.

There are 296 active cases of COVID-19 across the state.

Further north, there were 681 cases of COVID-19 reported in NSW and one further death — a man in his 80s.

The lockdown in regional NSW will be extended for a further week until August 28 in a push to eliminate the virus from regional areas.

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