REGIONAL Victoria will move to ‘Step 2’ at 11.59pm tonight, Sunday, September 13, and is highly likely to jump straight to ‘Step 3’ as early as this Wednesday, September 16 as the number of active cases of coronavirus continues to plummet in country areas.

From a high of 512 cases little more than three weeks ago, regional Victoria’s numbers dropped to 52 overnight on Saturday, with 41 of those cases in the hotspot areas of Colac 26, Latrobe 8 and Greater Geelong 7.

Locally, in Gippsland, there are just 10 active cases; 8 in Latrobe City, 1 in East Gippsland, and 1 in Baw Baw but zero active cases in each of South Gippsland, Bass Coast and Wellington (Sale-Yarram area).

But it’s no time for complacency or breaking the rules.

According to Victoria Police, one of the 200 individual fines handed out in the past 24 hours involved a Sale couple who drove 185km to Dandenong “because they needed to buy specific vegetables that their baby liked”.

In his daily coronavirus update on Sunday, Premier Andrews, supported by CHO Dr Brett Sutton, said it was almost certain that regional Victoria would move to Step 3 as early as this Wednesday.

He said the rolling 14-day average for new cases in regional areas was 4.1, well below the trigger point for Step 3 of five new cases-a-day, and there was again no new cases of an unknown origin after a new “Horsham” case was reclassified to the metro list.

From Monday, September 14 the following activities will be allowed:

  • Only four reasons to leave home
  • Public gatherings of five people from a maximum of two households will be allowed
  • Parks open (unlimited outdoor recreation and exercise allowed
  • Students return to face-to-face learning from the start of Term 4 (Monday, October 5).

A whole range of activities will be allowed in regional Victoria moves to Step 3 this Wednesday including sit-down outdoor/indoor dining and drinking at cafés, restaurants and pubs; beauty salons reopen, no restrictions on leaving home, and public gatherings of 10.

Victoria has recorded 41 new cases of coronavirus in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, with the total number of cases now at 19,835. The overall total has increased by 35 due to six cases being reclassified.

Within Victoria, 21 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 20 are under investigation.

There have been seven new deaths from COVID-19 reported since yesterday. One man in his 70s, one woman in her 70s, one woman in her 80s and four women in their 90s. Four of the deaths occurred prior to yesterday.

Six of today’s seven deaths are linked to known outbreaks in aged care facilities. To date, 723 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

The average number of cases diagnosed in the last 14 days for metropolitan Melbourne is 56.9 and regional Victoria is 4.1. The rolling daily average case number is calculated by averaging out the number of new cases over the past 14 days.

The total number of cases from an unknown source in the last 14 days is 99 for metropolitan Melbourne and five for regional Victoria. The 14-day period for the source of acquisition data ends 48 hours earlier than the 14-day period used to calculate the new case average due to the time required to fully investigate a case and assign its mode of acquisition.

In Victoria at the current time:

  • • 4285 cases may indicate community transmission – a decrease of 11 since yesterday
  • • 1157 cases are currently active in Victoria

The top five local government areas in Victoria account for 548 of the state’s 1157 active cases or 47%.

They are Brimbank (Sunshine West to Taylors Lakes) 151, Wyndham (Werribee) 147, Melton (Melton to Rockbank) 94, Casey (Narre Warren to Cranbourne) 81 and Hume (Broadmeadows) 75; all but Casey in Melbourne’s north-west.

In other data:

  • • 116 cases of coronavirus are in hospital, including11 in intensive care
  • • 17,893 people have recovered from the virus
  • • A total of 2,488,773 test results have been received which is an increase of 17,396 since yesterday.

Of the 1157 current active cases in Victoria:

  • • 1094 are in metropolitan Melbourne under stage 4 restrictions
  • • 52 are in regional local government areas under stage 3 restrictions.
  • • 7 are either unknown or subject to further investigation
  • • 4 are interstate residents
  • • Colac Otway has 26 active cases, Greater Geelong has seven active cases, Greater Bendigo has one active case and Ballarat has no active cases.

Of the total cases:

  • • 18,464 cases are from metropolitan Melbourne, while 1197 are from regional Victoria
  • • Total cases include 9455 men and 10,366 women
  • • Total number of healthcare workers: 3416, active cases: 176
  • • There are 572 active cases relating to aged care facilities

Active aged care outbreaks with the highest cumulative case numbers are as follows:

  • • 245 cases have been linked to BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community in Werribee
  • • 219 cases have been linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping
  • • 213 cases have been linked to St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner
  • • 166 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer
  • • 139 cases have been linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth
  • • 129 cases have been linked to BlueCross Ruckers Hill Aged Care Facility in Northcote
  • • 128 cases have been linked to Twin Parks Aged Care in Reservoir
  • • 124 cases have been linked to Cumberland Manor Aged Care Facility in Sunshine North
  • • 120 cases have been linked to Japara Goonawarra Aged Care Facility in Sunbury
  • • 119 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg

In Victoria there are currently 10 active cases in residential disability accommodation:

  • • Total resident cases: 4; Total Staff cases: 6
  • • Active cases in NDIS homes: 10 (4 residents)
  • • Active cases in ‘transfer’ homes (State regulated/funded): 0
  • • Active cases in state government delivered and funded homes: 0

Non-aged care outbreaks with the highest number of active cases include:

  • • 16 active cases are currently linked to Bulla Dairy Foods in Colac (total cases: 20)
  • • 10 active cases are currently linked to Vawdrey Australia Truck Manufacturer (total cases: 58)
  • • 8 active cases are currently linked to Wydinia Kindergarten in Colac (total cases: 13)
  • • 6 active cases are currently linked to Peninsula Health Frankston Hospital (total cases: 90)
  • • 9 active cases are currently linked to Dandenong Police Station (total cases: 14)

As public health work is undertaken throughout the day, outbreak totals are likely to change as the public health team identify links between cases and identified outbreaks. Organisation based outbreak totals include contacts as well as employees/residents/staff/students of that location/business.