COVID-19 Community Update: Regional Victoria back in lockdown, work permits to be introduced and details on growing Shepparton outbreak
21 August 2021
Yesterday, the Victorian Government confirmed the news none of us wanted to hear – a positive case of COVID-19 had been detected in Shepparton.
Unfortunately, that number has now risen to 21 cases.
The Premier has announced that regional Victoria is now back in lockdown until 11:59pm 2 September.
Restrictions are the same as those currently in place in metropolitan Melbourne, with the exception of curfew.
A few key changes to note – a permit system for work will be in place from Monday and playgrounds, basketball hoops, skate parks and outdoor equipment are now closed.
Face masks are recommended for all primary school students indoors and outdoors, except at home or if an exemption applies.
Masks will also not be able to be removed to drink alcoholic beverages.
Exercise is limited to just one other person, plus dependants if they can’t be left at home.
Given the high rate of transmission in young people, the government is heavily restricting childcare centres. They are now closed to everyone except to children whose parents are authorised workers and cannot be supervised at home. Vulnerable children can still attend, but a permit system will apply.
The government has stated that further details on the permit system will be released over coming days.
Please find a summary of other restriction changes below:
Masks remain mandatory indoors and outdoors unless a lawful exemption applies. This includes wearing a mask in all workplaces and secondary schools and while consuming alcoholic beverages outdoors.
Given the short notice of this announcement, workforce permits will be required to leave the house for authorised work from 11.59pm Monday 23 August.
You can apply for a permit here.
As always, if you can work from home you must continue to work from home.
As of 10:45am today, there are 389 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria including 77 new locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours.
Yesterday, a Shepparton man in his 30s tested positive to COVID-19. Further testing has been carried out overnight for family members related to this man and people in their networks.
An additional 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the current outbreak in Shepparton to 21.
It is likely that more cases will surface over the coming days.
A number of exposure sites have been identified in Shepparton and Western Bendigo in relation to this outbreak. I urge everyone to check the exposure site list and to check-in regularly for updates, as more sites are likely to be added.
There are three testing clinics that have opened across Shepparton. From today, testing is available at:
- The Acute Respiratory Clinic at GV Health in Graham Street, Shepparton from 8am
- Drive through testing at Shepparton Sports Precinct, corner of Numurkah Road and Brauman Street, Shepparton from 8:30am
- Drive through testing at Shepparton Greyhound and Trotting Track, 7580 Goulburn Valley Highway, Kialla from 9am
Please note testing is not available at the vaccination hub at the McIntosh Centre, Shepparton Showgrounds.
At present authorities are prioritising testing for people who are linked to exposure sites and for those who have been classified as close contacts.
The Benalla Health Fever Clinic will also be testing today and tomorrow from 1:30pm-3:30pm. Please phone Benalla Health on 5761 4284 to make an appointment.
If you are visiting a testing site, you are encouraged to book ahead to help reduce waiting times. For further details on testing sites and to book, please visit https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19.
If you are feeling unwell, please do not delay getting a test at one of the local screening clinics listed below.
If you are eligible to be vaccinated, you can make an appointment via one of the sites below. Getting vaccinated is the most effective ways we can avoid future lockdowns and protect those around us.
A breakdown on the current vaccination numbers by region can also be found below.
Goulburn Valley residents who are required to isolate while they wait for test results may apply for a $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment. Further details about how to apply may be found here.
The $1500 one-off Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is also available for eligible close contacts of confirmed cases who are quarantining. Further details about how to apply may be found here.
Further details on financial support for regional Victorians will be announced over the coming days.
This situation is developing quickly and I will aim to keep you updated as I find out more.
I understand the announcement of another lockdown is not easy. These changes will leave many feeling anxious and isolated.
Please be sure to reach out to your family and loved ones by phone, message or video call this weekend.
National support services are also available through:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
As always, my team and I are ready on the other end of the phone to answer any questions you may have about restrictions.
I will be sure to provide further details on financial assistance available over the coming days.