A REGIONAL Victorian town's COVID-19 outbreak has become increasingly dire, with five new cases and one third of residents in isolation.
The cluster in Shepparton has reached 50 COVID-19 cases.
The region's health service estimates 17,000 people are isolating, one third of Shepparton's population.
More than 80 local exposure sites have been listed including a number of supermarkets.
Health Minister Martin Foley said the state government was working with Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner, and Defence support would be provided if necessary.
"We're well and truly engaged with not just Goulburn Valley Health, [but] the council, the aged care services, the school services, the civic support groups, the food supply groups," he said.
"We're working through all of those issues... to make sure that the people of Shepparton, and the Goulburn Valley more broadly, get all the support they need.
With more than 150 staff from Goulburn Valley Health isolating, Mr Foley said "a substantial" number of extra healthcare workers had been sent to Shepparton from health services in Melbourne and Bendigo.
Local residents have started doing food drives to support those affected by the outbreak.
The Shepparton outbreak has been genomically linked to an earlier outbreak at Glenroy in Melbourne's outer north.
An infected patient from Shepparton has been identified as the index case that sparked an outbreak at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Eleven new exposure sites have also been listed between Geelong and Little River after six cases were connected to a household in Lara.
These cases are yet to be epidemiologically linked but are believed to be related to the Newport cluster.
With Australian Associated Press.
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