Shepparton News

‘Most challengin­g’ phase


- By Rosa Ritchie

Of the record-breaking 2297 new COVID-19 cases announced in Victoria yesterday, 30 were in Greater Shepparton, a ‘‘notable increase’’ according to Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar.

Eleven positive cases died during the same reporting period and Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino confirmed one of those was a Greater Shepparton man in his 70s.

‘‘These people are not just a statistic,’’ Mr Merlino said.

‘‘Every one of them had a full life with family and friends who love them and we pass on our deepest sympathies to their families and friends.’’

Mr Weimar said the patient who died in greater Shepparton was admitted to Goulburn Valley Health.

‘‘A majority of the Shepparton cases are linked and we understand that community transmissi­on is happening in Shepp at this point in time,’’ he said.

The City of Greater Shepparton outbreak has climbed to 182 active cases, among more than 20,000 active cases across the state.

Acting chief health officer Ben Cowie said trends in regional Victoria were of concern.

‘‘While we’ve seen increases across the board, we’ve certainly seen disproport­ionate increases in some parts of regional Victoria,’’ he said.

Nearly half, 46 per cent, of the cases announced yesterday were aged under 30 and about two thirds were less than 40.

On Thursday, there were 706 people in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19, and 100 were on a ventilator.

Of the people in hospital on Wednesday, 90 per cent were not fully vaccinated.

Mr Merlino said 87.6 per cent of the population aged over 16 had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 62 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Although vaccinatio­n helped to drive down the hospitalis­ation rate, Mr Weimar said Victoria had reached ‘‘the most challengin­g part of the journey’’.

He said 98 per cent of people in ICU in Victoria were not fully vaccinated.

‘‘Almost seven out of 10 of those people who are catching COVID are not’’vaccinated,” he said.

Mr Merlino also shared important news for VCE students, with school exposure sites to be treated differentl­y from next week.

The changes are to enable VCE exams to go ahead without disruption, and only apply to VCE students.

‘‘Students who are primary close contacts can sit their exams in a dedicated room with a separate entrance, either by themselves or safely distanced from other students who are also primary close contacts, depending on the school’s capacity,’’ Mr Merlino said.

‘‘Each student who is a primary close contact needs to be tested every 48 hours through the first week and after their exposure on day 13.

‘‘If the students are fully vaccinated, they are in isolation for seven days, and for students without a vaccinatio­n, they are in isolation for 14 days but have an exemption to go and sit their exam.’’

The process for students who test positive for COVID-19 will not be changing — they won’t be able to attend school or sit their VCE exam and they’ll receive a derived examinatio­n score for any exam missed.

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? James Merlino
Picture: AAP James Merlino

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