Shepparton coronavirus cases prompt call for residents to get tested
Residents of the regional Victorian city of Shepparton are being advised to get tested for coronavirus if they feel ill, after three new cases were identified late on Tuesday.
- With contact tracing underway, health officials expect to find more cases
- Anyone who has symptoms, even if they have not visited the high-risk locations, is urged to get tested
- Shepparton MP Suzanna Sheed said the news was gutting after an outbreak in July was suppressed
Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said the three people were isolating at home and being monitored by health officials.
He said extensive contact tracing was underway in the northern Victorian town, and it was expected that “further cases will be discovered”.
“To everyone locally … if you feel unwell at all, please get tested as soon as possible and stay at home until you get your results,” Mr Weimar said.
“We’re asking everyone in the local community — and any Victorian who has loved ones in Shepparton — to share this message.”
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the cases were linked to the outbreak at Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre.
“GV Health is undertaking contact tracing now and into tomorrow, with further information to be provided as soon as it is available,” he said.
The department has released a list of high-risk locations, which includes eateries, a golf club, a hairdressing salon and a Bunnings store. But Mr Weimar said locals who felt unwell should get tested even if they had not visited any of them.
‘We had a moment of hope’
Local MP Suzanna Sheed said she was “gutted” by the news.
“To find out that just tonight there are … active cases, possibly with many contacts for our community, is extremely upsetting,” she told Parliament on Tuesday night.
Ms Sheed said there had been a big run of cases in Shepparton in July but “we got on top of it, suppressed it and we’ve been clear for weeks”.
Regional Victoria is on step three of Victoria’s restrictions roadmap, and has significantly fewer limits on movement and business than metropolitan Melbourne does.
Ms Sheed said she could see the impact of the restrictions while driving into Melbourne to attend Parliament.
“The life has been sucked out of this place and it is a truly tragic thing to see,” she said.
“We had a moment of hope in regional Victoria that we might have been able to have a much better result, to be able to be more isolated and to be able to free up even more.
“News like that can just really be so devastating in our communities when we feel like we were really getting on top of it.”
Pop-up testing site set up with more to come
Before the outbreak, there had been only six active cases of the virus in all of regional Victoria.
Five of them are in the Kilmore area, north of Melbourne, and are also linked to the Chadstone cluster.
High-risk locations identified in Shepparton are:
• Central Tyre Service, Welsford Street, Shepparton from Wednesday September 30 to Tuesday October 13.
• Bunnings Warehouse, Midland Highway Shepparton, Friday October 2
• McDonalds Shepparton North, 175 Midland Highway Shepparton, Saturday October 3
• Mooroopna Golf Club Members Bar, Sunday October 4; and Pro Shop and Members Bar, Sunday October 11
• Shepparton Market Place Medical Centre, Midland Highway, Shepparton, Thursday October 8
• Lemon Tree Café, Fryers Street Shepparton
• Thai Orchid Restaurant, Nixon Street Shepparton, Wednesday October 7 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
• Bombshell Hairdressing, Fryers Street Shepparton, on Wednesday October 7 from 9:30am to 10:30am.
People can be tested at Goulburn Valley Health’s Acute Respiratory Clinic and a new pop-up testing site is being set up at the showgrounds.
More testing sites would be announced soon, the DHHS said.