Question without notice: …Minister, will you send more assistance from Melbourne and other regional clinics that you have already established to Goulbourn Valley Health to get this testing done and ensure that the test results are made available as quickly as possible to each and every person who is submitting themselves for those tests?
Minister Response – (Mr FOLEY Albert Park—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality, Minister for the Coordination of Health and Human Services: COVID-19) (13:27): I thank the member for Shepparton for her question and for her commitment to her community. The short answer is yes, and the extended answer is, as the honourable member has pointed out, that there have been three coronavirus cases diagnosed overnight. All are related to an incident whereby a nondeclared visit, but a permitted visit, to the Shepparton community was not declared by a person who subsequently tested positive and also was the index source for the Kilmore outbreak. I can confirm for the record that a number of high-risk sites have been identified—Central Tyre Service, Mooroopna Golf Club members bar, Bombshell hairdressing, Thai Orchid restaurant and the Shepparton Marketplace Medical Centre—and the dates and times at which those sites were made high risk are widely available in the Shepparton and surrounding communities.
If you are in these high-risk areas, then the instructions are that you should seek urgently to get to one of the so far three established sites in the Shepparton community, those being the Goulburn Valley Health acute respiratory clinic, a site that has been set up in the showgrounds at Shepparton and the Shepparton respiratory clinic, and there will be further resources put into setting up further testing facilities. In addition to those high-risk locations, the public health teams have also identified Bunnings Warehouse in Shepparton, McDonald’s in Shepparton, the Lemon Tree Cafe and the Mooroopna Golf Club pro shop as also locations of concern. Instructions for anyone who has visited these sites are to come forward, get tested and stay at home and await your results. For the rest of the community in Shepparton, anyone who has even the mildest symptoms should get tested and should isolate at home whilst awaiting their results. Indeed I can, through you, Speaker, give the member for Shepparton and the wider community of Shepparton every assurance that all the efforts for testing, for community contact tracing and particularly the efforts of the regional local public health units, together with any support they need from the central public health units, will be provided to ensure that the strong civic spirit of the Shepparton community and the strong commitments that the Shepparton community have to one another’s collective wellbeing will be supported by all the necessary resources to make sure that we identify this virus and respond to it in the most timely and effective manner.
Supplementary question: Minister, I am concerned that the third clinic, the commonwealth clinic, is actually not having people coming in on a regular basis—there is a recording there. A member of my staff was not able to make an appointment until tomorrow, so something ought to be done to address the level of that service. But more particularly, Minister, can you guarantee that my community will be extended everything possible to ensure that best-practice contact tracing is employed for Shepparton and that the government will provide all the resources that are needed to put that in place?
Minister response – (Mr FOLEY Albert Park—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality, Minister for the Coordination of Health and Human Services: COVID-19) (13:31): I thank the member for her supplementary question. Once again I can give the member that undertaking. In regard to whether they are commonwealth-supported facilities or state-supported facilities, we will ensure that all the necessary resources are there to enable the most timely and effective response for testing and contact tracing and the necessary supports for those people who need to isolate as a result of those.
In particular I want to give a shout-out to the Goulburn Valley Health local public health unit and the support that they have received from the other four regional public health units to make sure that all the resources are being brought to bear where they need to be and indeed to extend the same principle that we saw work so effectively in Kilmore—that we deal not only with the people so far identified as infected and not only their close contacts but that third ring of the close contacts of the close contacts, who will also be pursued in this manner