Community sport given the boot Outbreak close to home
The local region is on high alert after Shepparton recorded 44 cases of COVID-19 in a four-day period.
A number of public spaces now make up the list of 64 exposure sites (the number at the time the Chronicle went to print) including several schools, supermarkets, medical centres, marketplaces, public transport, leisure centres, food outlets, factory sales and hairdressers.
The exact sites, their exposure periods and what tier system they have been allocated can be found at the Victorian Government Coronavirus website at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-site.
Currently the closest exposure site to Yarrawonga is at Invergordon, 45km southwest, with the Greater Shepparton Secondary College Invergordon Campus being listed as a tier two exposure site meaning anyone who attended the campus from Monday, August 16 to Friday, August 20 is to get tested urgently and isolate until you have a negative result.
The current outbreak began with a Shepparton man in his 30s testing positive to COVID-19 on Friday resulting in several schools closing before further exposure sites were listed and further businesses also closed.
GV Health executive Matt Sharp held a press conference on Monday afternoon, revealing more than 16,000 people from the Goulburn Valley community are going to need to be tested and the same number of people are estimated to be in isolation.
Mr Sharp said as of Monday afternoon, there were more than 10 households linked to the outbreak.
The origin of the Shepparton COVID-19 cluster, which by the time the Chronicle went to print on Tuesday had grown by seven cases, remains a mystery.
Yarrawonga Health CEO Elaine Mallows also urged the local community to stand united in the wake of growing community transmission and escalating case numbers across the local region.
“We know as a border community and as a neighbour to Shepparton the threat of COVID-19 is real and its impacts are significant right across the region,” Ms Mallows said.
“We understand that people are tired, it’s been a tough couple of weeks and lots of bad news close to home, but we simply must hang in there. We must commit to the long haul.
“Paying attention to the small things we can do individually to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 will work.
“We need everyone to focus on things like getting tested, keeping up to date on exposure sites listed within our region, wearing a mask, being mindful of hygiene practices and maintaining social distancing if around others. And of course, getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.”
Yarrawonga Health have extended hours of operation for testing to seven days a week. The Yarrawonga Health Vaccination Clinic has also extended hours of operation, with vaccination available from 9am to 4pm every Friday and an additional clinic this Saturday, August 28 from 9.30am to 4pm.
Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar also released information about the Shepparton outbreak saying it was not yet genomically or otherwise connected to Melbourne.
“That is a major concern,” he said.
“Is that a new incursion in from New South Wales? Is it some kind of other connection point between the existing outbreak we’ve known about?
“We don’t have that data at this point in time.”
Mr Weimar said there had been a “fragmenting” of individual cases over the weekend, with 42 mystery cases.
“We’re doing that detective work now, we’ll connect a whole heap of them back into our outbreaks,” he said.
“The urgency is for people to realise this is now really close to everybody.”
Meanwhile over the river, the Murrumbidgee
Local Health District have recorded no new cases of COVID-19, remaining one of two local health districts without cases in NSW.
If you or a close contact have been to any of the exposure sites visit the Victorian Government Coronavirus website listed above or call the Department of Health hotline on 1800 675 398 to establish your next step and use these sources as your first point of contact.
For up-to-date information on the Shepparton outbreak, stay up to date with Shepparton News’ rolling coverage by visiting www. sheppnews.com.au.
The Yarrawonga Medical Clinic, Yarrawonga Denis Medical Group and Terry White Pharmacy are also conducting COVID-19 vaccinations.