Supermarket giants are working frantically to feed a third of the population of a rural Victorian town that has been locked in Covid isolation for more than a week.
Located on the floodplain of the Goulburn River in northern Victoria, Shepparton remained a ghost town on Friday for eight days after a Covid-19 outbreak was discovered, shutting the entire state of Victoria for the sixth time.
Australian Defense Force troops rolled into the city on Thursday as desperate locals pleaded for emergency aid amid food shortages due to the lockdown orders.
An Australian Defense Force soldier acts as backup as Victorian health officials check on Shepparton people in isolation on Friday
Those who didn’t have to isolate in Shepparton could finally get food on Friday. A Covid outbreak there eight days ago shut down the entire state
With a third of the city of Shepparton forced into isolation, the city remained a ghost town on Friday
With supermarket shelf stackers, suppliers and other staff all quarantined for 14 days, online orders for basic supplies skyrocketed.
On Friday, Coles Online reported it had increased capacity by 350 percent, increasing the number of vans delivering orders from two to seven.
Imprisoned city dwellers now get basic necessities from supermarkets in Wodonga, Bendigo and Craigieburn.
Shepparton News, which provides residents near-minute updates on the Covid crisis, has reported a 630 percent increase in volume over the usual number of Coles Online orders delivered to homes in Shepparton on Friday.
As the crisis threatened to spiral out of control yesterday, food was even brought in from Melbourne.
While the shelves seemed well stocked on Friday morning, by midday stocks of basic necessities such as bread and milk began to dwindle.
The town’s plight became national news on Thursday when reports emerged that some residents had been unable to get food for days.
The situation was so dire that the city became vulnerable to something as basic as fire, with 24 of the Country Fire Authority’s 30 firefighters in isolation.
A welfare organization delivered more than 250 aid packages on Thursday, with companies mobilized as far as Echuca at the NSW border.
While thousands have already been tested in Shepparton, test stations were relatively quiet on Friday
Navy members deployed to Shepparton to help test thousands of residents
Shepparton residents queue for coffee on Friday. Most shops in town are closed
The sound of silence continued over Shepparton Friday with about 16,000 people trapped in isolation – a third of the population
It was the day Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrew sent Deputy State Emergency Management Commissioner Deb Abbott, as well as other senior department officials, to Shepparton to coordinate relief efforts.
Troops remain on the ground and on Friday health officials could be seen going door-to-door as they checked that the community was isolated according to instructions.
About 70 ADF employees will support testing and door-to-door checks over the next one to two weeks, with up to 25 members being trained and deployed on Thursday afternoon.
About 16,000 residents of the region, which has a population of 65,000, are reportedly in self-isolation, forcing food distributors, supermarkets and pharmacies to close due to staff shortages.
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said some local exposure sites, particularly those involving schools, could be downgraded early.
“I’m hopeful that in the next 24 to 48 hours we may see some of those exposure sites reclassified their tier rating,” he said on Friday.
ADF Personal is seen in front of Shepparton hospital as Covid infections rose in Shepparton on Friday
Messages begin to move again to imprisoned Shepparton people forced to isolate
The bakery section of IGA in North Shepparton looks largely empty on Friday
While the spirits in Shepparton have been somewhat boosted by the increased availability of basic necessities, tensions threaten to overflow among the town’s large Indigenous community.
More than 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Shepparton community.
On Friday, Indigenous rapper Adam Briggs added fuel to the fire when he openly called the city “racist” after a front page article of Shepparton News failed to represent a member of the Indigenous people in an article designed to rally community support. promote.
Shepparton has the largest indigenous population in Victoria. How’s our representation on the front page of Today’s newspaper?’ he posted on Twitter.
“The city I grew up in is Racist AF.”
His comments sparked a wave of anger among parts of Shepparton’s Aboriginal community, who rallied behind his comments.
The publication quickly apologized to Briggs and the Indigenous community.
“This is a good point and a reminder that media organizations can always strive to be more diverse and representative of their communities,” it wrote.
“I understand Briggs was on our first list of contacts to reach. It’s disappointing that he wasn’t in our paper today as such a valued member of our community.”
native rapper Adam Briggs was outraged by a news article that failed to represent Shepparton’s large Aboriginal community
Signs at the local IGA in North Shepparton informing customers of staff shortages due to isolation from rising Covid numbers
Coles was working overtime to restock supermarkets and run errands for those isolated in Shepparton on Friday
A woman goes for an early morning workout around Lake Shepparton on Friday
Others remain angry that they were forced to isolate and fend for themselves for days until help arrived.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said the government had taken too long to send aid to the ailing residents of Shepparton.
“Great Scomo & Gladys can help by filling the shelves at Woolies and helping my team members while I’m home safely under my Stop and Stay Order,” a Shepparton woman posted on social media on Friday.
“People of Shepparton may need more than just messages,” wrote another.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Covid commander Jeroen Weimar admitted that the spread of the virus across Shepparton had caught health officials by surprise.
The city had not registered a single active case of the virus for nearly a year until this month.
“We think we have good control and support around our contact tracing and response in Shepparton, but it shows how quickly these clusters can explode in a short amount of time,” he said.
ADF staff tests a Shepparton man for Covid-19 on Friday
Shepparton people trapped in isolation have days left to serve before they can be released
He praised locals for their response to the crisis, with three quarters of the 6,000 primary close contacts returning negative test results and continuing their isolation.
Several exposure sites have also been rated lower, including an elementary school.
About 500 primary close contacts are expected to be taken out of isolation on Friday when they complete a negative test result.
“We know of course how difficult it is to isolate, especially with so many people in the city currently isolating and I am thinking in particular of the various local and national support services who are now working so hard to keep the Shepparton community safe and supported.” at this very difficult time,” said Mr. Weimar.
Goulburn Valley Health, in conjunction with the Victorian Government and the Greater Shepparton City Council, will host another online community information session tonight from 6pm-7pm.
The forum will address the current situation in Greater Shepparton and emergency aid available to families and individuals.