News

Community COVID-19 testing finishes, as virus no longer active in Greater Shepparton

By Madi Chwasta

Goulburn Valley Health has stopped COVID-19 community testing, after the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services reported there were no longer any active cases of the virus in Greater Shepparton.

But chief executive Matt Sharp warned the community to remain vigilant in case there was another outbreak in the region.

Mr Sharp said community testing at the McIntosh Centre at the Shepparton Showgrounds finished yesterday, but the hospital would continue to test symptomatic people at Graham St daily from 10 am to 5:15 pm.

Testing is also available by appointment at Princess Park Respiratory Clinic, which is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm.

Princess Park Clinic practice manager Leanne Taylor said staff there were only able to test people showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“If people don’t have symptoms, we’re not allowed to test them,” she said.

“But if people have symptoms, stay home and get tested.”

COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills without a cause, a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and loss of the sense of smell.

The testing centre was opened by the Federal Department of Health and, at this stage, will run until the end of August.

A DHHS spokesperson said only Victorian school staff, returned travellers and people associated with an outbreak were eligible for asymptomatic testing.

“This will continue to be reviewed and updated based on the information available about coronavirus in the community,” the spokesperson said.

“We encourage anyone who has even the mildest symptoms of coronavirus to see their GP or attend a testing clinic.”

Mr Sharp said 2484 people had been tested for COVID-19 at Riverside Plaza, Bunnings Shepparton and at the McIntosh Centre since GV Health began pop-up testing at the start of May.

The hospital also tested 334 school staff as part of the testing blitz before classroom learning returned.

Mr Sharp said testing had shown a low prevalence of COVID-19 in the region.

“Testing has been very successful, with a large number of the community taking part in both the asymptomatic testing blitz and the symptomatic testing that has taken place,” he said.

“By conducting community testing it has shown that there appears to be a low prevalence in our region of COVID-19," Mr Sharp said.

“However, it is important that we remain vigilant, particularly now that some of the state government’s restrictions are easing.

“It is important that everyone follows personal distancing rules and maintains good, personal hygiene, as there is still a chance of a localised outbreak.”

He said all GV Health sites were screening people for COVID-19 on entry.

Greater Shepparton has not reported any new cases of COVID-19 since two workers at Kyabram District Health Service tested positive for the virus two weeks ago.

KDHS has since tested close to 200 staff members for the virus, and all results have come back negative.

● To book a COVID-19 test at Princess Park Respiratory Clinic, visit www.princessparkclinic.com.au or call 5821 9655.