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VICTORIA RECORDS 445 CASES, TWO DEATHS
Deputy Premier James Merlino acknowledged the signs were positive for greater Shepparton yesterday, but he had no announcement to make on when we will join the rest of regional Victoria in being released from stage four lockdown.
Victoria recorded 445 new cases and a man in his 20s and a woman in her 80s became the latest deaths linked to the current outbreak of the Delta variant.
Mr Merlino spend most of the daily briefing focused on what leading mental health experts have called the ‘‘shadow pandemic’’.
‘‘This has been an incredibly difficult, unprecedented time, and many Victorians are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing,’’ he said.
Mr Merlino announced a $22.1 million package of additional mental health support, including $13.3 million to deliver 20 pop-up community mental health services — with about 90 dedicated clinicians providing 93,000 additional hours of wellbeing checks and counselling.
Eight of the pop-ups will be in regional Victoria.
‘‘We’ll start at the end of this month and progressively open them,’’ Mr Merlino said.
A further $4 million is allocated for Indigenous-controlled organisations to provide additional care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Orygen youth mental health service director Professor Patrick McGorry was extremely grateful for a ‘‘pretty decisive action’’.
‘‘The issues that people are raising about hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID cases, that’s our daily life in mental health,’’ he said.
Prof McGorry said the injection of funding to deal with the fallout of the pandemic would bridge the gap between funding flowing through in response to the Royal Commission into mental health.
‘‘A government that focuses on mental health and physical health at the same time is a rare beast, and that’s what we’re seeing today, a government that has both those issues in mind and we are grateful for that,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s an urgent problem and I think the government’s announcement today recognises the urgency of the situation.’’
There were no new cases in Shepparton reported yesterday.