City springs to life
DAY 13 TESTING SEES THOUSANDS VISIT TESTING SITES
The deserted streets of Shepparton, and the tumbleweeds, disappeared yesterday as thousands emerged from isolation, enjoying fresh air, watching the clouds, heading for their day 13 coronavirus tests.
Drive-through testing sites became Victoria’s biggest car parks as traffic appeared from around dawn. Individuals, couples and families arrived kitted out with entertainment and food to get them through the hours of queuing.
At Shepparton’s Graham St walk-in hub groups were strung out along the footpaths, all a safe 1.5 m apart, as people waited their turn to be swabbed.
Among them was Greater Shepparton Secondary College teacher Myf Saxton and her son Tom.
Swept up in the mandated quarantine for several Goulburn Valley schools, Ms Saxton and her family were among the thousands of people who were suddenly looking down the barrel of 14 days locked in their homes after they received stop-and-stay orders from the Department Health.
‘‘It was our first experience of isolation but we have friends in Melbourne who know the process so we knew a little of what to expect,’’ she said.
‘‘At the start we were mostly curious, we didn’t know what to expect.
‘‘But everyone was great and we had friends and students deliver food and drinks. The community came together and made it quite easy for us.
‘‘A real positive from (the quarantine) was we were reminded of the value of living in Shepparton.’’
While her time in quarantine was filled with online learning, Ms Saxton said she wasn’t as anxious as expected.
‘‘I trust in the medical system,’’ she said. ‘‘And the communication from the hospital and the rolling coverage from Shepparton News has been great.’’
Complying with the stop-and-stay orders meant Ms Saxton was unable to collect supplies before the stint in isolation.
‘‘I was surprised by some of the things I missed,’’ she said with a laugh.
‘‘Good shampoo, coffee. We ran out of bread at one point and I’m absolutely craving a tuna sandwich.
‘‘You know, First World problems.’’ When day 13 finally rolled around yesterday, Ms Saxton was expecting the wait for testing to look similar to Melbourne’s ring road after a three-truck collision at peak hour.
So she made sure to pack the car for an expected four-hour-plus wait at the Shepparton Sports Stadium.
Instead, it took her and son Tom all of one hour, door-to-door.
‘‘The staff already looked tired — I have great admiration for what they are doing; they work so hard,’’ she said.
‘‘I think the schedule released by GV Health about what time and where certain groups of students were to get tested really helped.
‘‘I just worry about the people who don’t have the resources we do.
‘‘If ever it got a bit tough for me during quarantine, I’d just remind myself that.’’