Council takes over reins
With much of Shepparton’s population set to come out of isolation at the end of the week, Greater Shepparton City Council will take the reins of the city’s relief and recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Emergency Management Victoria deputy commissioner Deb Abbott and a small team had been in Shepparton coordinating efforts as the outbreak unfolded, but would take a back seat from Wednesday. Ms Abbott said her team’s role had been to support the council and other agencies in Shepparton, but she said the council could now comfortably manage the needs of the city in relief efforts and the recovery stage.
She stressed the council would still have access to Emergency Management Victoria, her team would just not be physically present in Shepparton from today.
“The community has responded remarkably well to immense challenges,” Ms Abbott said.
Council chief executive Peter Harriott said Ms Abbott and her team had been brought in to help with relief efforts as more than 40 per cent of the population had to isolate, but he believed those needs had now plateaued.
He said work in Shepparton would soon move from relief efforts to recovery efforts. Efforts that would be looked at in this phase would range from mental health support, to how to help businesses, and work with students particularly in the lead-up to exams.
He said the council would now lead the charge in the recovery stage, which he said would initially last for two to three months, before blending in with regular help supplied by the council.
Meanwhile, GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp continued to urge people to be tested if they had any symptoms of COVID-19.
With 4000 people expected to need to be tested on Thursday, Mr Sharp said there would be “well planned’’ additional ‘‘testing capacity” at the Shepparton testing sites.
Mr Sharp said there were 106 active COVID-19 cases in Shepparton, with three people in hospital at GV Health.
Some people with COVID-19 have already been moved to Melbourne hospitals and their numbers now fell outside the Shepparton active case numbers, Mr Sharp said.
About 22,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Shepparton since the city’s outbreak began and Mr Sharp said the positive cases came from more than 40 households.