Shepparton News

Shepparton first for drug


- By Darren Linton

Shepparton is the first health service to receive ampules of a new COVID19 drug that is given to positive patients in the early phase of their illness to prevent them becoming seriously ill.

Professor Paul Johnson from the Victorian Health Department told an online Goulburn Valley business forum that the novel monoclonal antibody treatment Sotrovimab had been provided to GV Health.

Prof Johnson outlined the path out of the current outbreak including the plan for the peak of critical day 13 testing on Thursday which will allow thousands of people to be released from mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The forum heard that most businesses have lost at least one-third of their workforce to quarantine.

Prof Johnson said only primary close contacts in any household would be required to test to ease the pressure on testing sites.

For the peak on Thursday, all testing sites will operate from 8 am to 8 pm to process up to 4000 people. Testing will be staggered with different schools and year levels directed to specific test sites.

The forum heard businesses have been hit hard by the outbreak with many forced to close and large manufactur­ers forced to cut production because of low staffing levels.

Ed Savill, a director of COVID-19 testing with the Victorian Department of Health, said many lessons had been learned from the Shepparton outbreak.

‘‘We accept that as things started to develop there was a need to ramp up testing really quickly, unfortunat­ely the scale of the outbreak made it really challengin­g,’’ he said.

‘‘If it were to happen again in another area there are a lot of lessons to be learned.’’

Geoff Adams from the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce said the harsh lockdown was a serious blow to many businesses who had been hanging by a thread over the past 18 months.

He raised the need for ongoing financial and mental health support.

‘‘It is the biggest thing to hit Shepparton in living memory, to have so many businesses closed, street by street it is actually frightenin­g,’’ he said.

‘‘It is something that is taking a huge toll on Shepparton.’’

Greater Shepparton City Council’s director sustainabl­e developmen­t Geraldine Christou said as the relief phase came to an end next week attention would turn to a recovery phase.

‘‘We will do some marketing and have a number of initiative­s to support that,’’ she said.

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