Virus updates

Greater Shepparton reports three new active COVID-19 cases

By Madi Chwasta

Greater Shepparton has recorded three new active cases of COVID-19, taking the region's total to 12.

Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said two of the new cases were connected to known community outbreaks.

He said the third case had not been linked to any outbreaks, and contact tracing was under way.

  • Five of the active cases are related to the Shepparton Villages outbreak, being two staff members, two close contacts of the staff members who are not employed at Shepparton Villages and one resident at Maculata Place. A student from Greater Shepparton Secondary College (Wanganui campus) is linked to this outbreak.
  • There are two active cases that are linked, and are connected to Unilever Tatura and believed to be linked to First Choice Liquor Shepparton. Two of the new cases from Tuesday are linked to this outbreak.
  • There are now three active cases which are not linked to any others.

Mr Sharp said one person with COVID-19 remained an inpatient at GV Health, but that person was not from Greater Shepparton so not included in the number of active cases in the region.

Among the new cases is an AHS Tatura Pharmacy employee who tested positive for COVID-19. The pharmacy was informed on Monday night, and is not clear whether this case is linked to a known outbreak.

In a Facebook post, a pharmacy spokesperson said the employee had worked at the store from Tuesday, August 4 to Friday, August 7, and the store would be closed until Thursday.

"Thus contract tracing is currently under way for the period of August 4 to 7," the spokesperson said.

"The store is being professionally deep cleaned this evening.

"In addition, all staff who worked on these days have also been tested and are currently in isolation at their homes awaiting results."

The spokesperson said no customers were considered a close contact of the staff member.

"The infected staff member was wearing PPE in accordance with COVID-19 procedures, had taken all hygiene practices in line with the national guidelines on infection control, had minimal contact with the public during these shifts," the spokesperson said.

"Based on our policy of not allowing customers waiting in store for prescriptions, we can confirm that no customer is deemed a 'close contact' according to DHHS advice due to periods of under 15 minutes in store.

"However, we encourage anyone who may develop symptoms, no matter how mild, or if you feel unwell to please get tested and isolate."

SHEPPARTON VILLAGES RESIDENTS TEST NEGATIVE FOR THE VIRUS

Shepparton Villages has confirmed no other Maculata Place residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after a resident tested positive on Sunday.

Interim chief executive Greg Pullen said he received the results for the remaining Maculata Place residents on Tuesday afternoon, and residents and their families had been informed.

"I am pleased to advise that of the 116 Maculata Place residents tested, 115 have returned a negative test, and one — the original case — is positive," Mr Pullen said.

All 19 residents at Bertram House also returned negative COVID-19 results at the weekend, after a staff member who tested positive on Friday worked at Bertram House and Maculata Place last week.

A second Shepparton Villages staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, but was not infectious while at work.

Mr Pullen said all residents would remain isolated in their rooms until the results of their second round of COVID-19 testing, scheduled for Thursday, were returned.

“(Also) in accordance with guidelines, 24 staff who have been identified as close contacts have been tested and all are well, isolating at home for 14 days,” he said.

“All Maculata Place staff are following infection control protocols and the Emergency Management Plan, supported by GV Health and the COVID case management team.

“Residents are in good spirits and staff are working tirelessly to care for all residents, and I offer my sincere thanks to all staff for their outstanding efforts.”

GREATER SHEPPARTON SECONDARY COLLEGE'S WANGANUI CAMPUS REOPENS

Greater Shepparton Secondary College's Wanganui campus will reopen on Wednesday, as a student who tested positive for COVID-19 was found to be not infectious while at school.

Executive principal Genevieve Simson said the Department of Health and Human Services had completed the risk assessment, and had advised the school could reopen as deep cleaning was completed.

"DHHS has concluded the student was not on site while infectious and therefore close contact tracing was not required in this case," Ms Simson said.

"They have also advised the school can reopen from Wednesday, August 12 now appropriate cleaning has been completed."

Ms Simson thanked the community for their patience and respect for the student's privacy.

CONTACT TRACING CONTINUES

Mr Sharp said the hospital was undertaking contact tracing for all active cases in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Anyone identified as a close contact will be called directly by the tracing team," Mr Sharp said.

"Please note, contact tracing is a time-consuming process and our team are working as fast as they can to complete this as quickly possible.

"Further details regarding any community locations of concern will be provided once this information is known and if it represents a concern."

Mr Sharp said a number of people were waiting for COVID-19 results, and anyone who is a known close contact and has been tested must stay at home.

"People should not present to the Acute Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 testing unless they are contacted by a GV Health or DHHS," Mr Sharp said.

He said it was possible more people in Greater Shepparton would test positive for COVID-19 in the coming days.

There is one active case in Campaspe Shire, and no known active cases in Moira Shire or Strathbogie Shire.

Victoria recorded 331 new active cases and 19 deaths.

GV Health's Acute Respiratory Clinic at Graham St, Shepparton is open seven days per week from 8 am to 5.15 pm.

The testing is only for people showing COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose and loss of sense of smell — no matter how mild.

Anyone who is unwell with any symptoms should get tested immediately and stay at home until they get their results.

Any questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the coronavirus hotline on 1800 338 663, which is operational from 8 am to 6 pm, seven days a week.