Community devastated by Shepparton outbreak
Three positive cases were confirmed on Tuesday night, sparking a mass of locals queuing at GV Health and Shepparton Showgrounds to get tested on Wednesday, October 14.
The cases were linked to a man who visited Shepparton recently with the virus and failed to disclose his trip to contact tracers.
The man is linked to a cluster in Chadstone and spread the virus to Kilmore before stopping in Shepparton.
Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said he felt "totally gutted" for the people of Shepparton.
“To think someone would test positive and more or less lie to the authorities not only risks people's health but their livelihood and lives; it's not good enough,” he said.
“You feel for these businesses that are closed on what impact it has.
“The Federal Government might be helping pay the wages through JobKeeper, but there's also insurance, registrations and other ongoing costs, so many are already trying to cope; this is doubly disappointing.
“We expect more cases to come, but hopefully it's minimal.”
Mr Drum said he was confident the local health authorities would do their best to get on top of the contact tracing.
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed asked Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley in parliament to throw all available resources to Shepparton.
Ms Sheed said it was a huge blow to the area and regional Victoria.
She said Shepparton had put itself in a good position prior to the outbreak.
“My call is for the government to throw everything at Shepparton,” she said.
“We need plenty of resources for strong testing and test results to be returned quick.
“Shepparton needs to be getting the best contact tracing available, and it will be hard because it seems the virus has been in the community for a while.
“If people test positive, tell authorities everything and don't withhold information because it's the only way we can get on top of this."
Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Anderson said he was devastated for the region, but continued his calls for restrictions on businesses to be lifted.
“What we know is that this virus won't go away until a vaccine become available, so we need to learn to live with it,” Mr Anderson said.
“All of the regions have been doing well and we're still looking forward to a resolution on restrictions soon.
“Our businesses are doing well respecting the rules and will continue to do so.”
Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive Peter Harriott said it was pleasing residents were quick to get tested.
“The Greater Shepparton community is doing an excellent job in following COVID-19 restrictions and requirements, by keeping safe and looking after each other,” he said.
“This latest news of three positive cases in Shepparton is disappointing considering how well we have been doing.
“I would like to reassure everyone in our community that we are well prepared, with the likes of council, GV Health, Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to manage the outbreak and provide the necessary support and information."