Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has said Melbourne might not need to reach a 14-day rolling average of lower than five to progress to Step Three of the roadmap out of lockdown.
The trigger point, which needs to be met as well as the goal of less than five mystery coronavirus cases over a 14-day period, has been heavily criticised for being an unrealistic target in recent weeks and on Sunday prompted calls from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for it to be revised.
A defiant Premier Daniel Andrews once again reiterated the importance of a “slow and steady” approach to ensure the second wave is defeated, stating the move would likely come on October 19 if the criteria is met.
However, on Wednesday, Professor Brett Sutton said the Step Three could come at a higher 14-day rolling average than five if mystery cases were kept to a minimum.
“In terms of the daily rolling average we want to get below five but if it's above five and the great majority of those cases are a contained link and we're confident about the control measures in place, we might accept that as a threshold to move to another step,” he said.
Victoria’s 14-day rolling average is 16.4.
He said it was vital the health authorities “understand the story” moving forward.
Move towards asymptomatic testing
As part of that process, Victoria will make a significant move in asymptomatic testing as testing rates have dropped off in recent days.
While previously suggesting asymptomatic testing was low yield, as Melbourne continues to open up, the state will now enforce random testing in high-risk workplaces.
All medium and large businesses in the meat, poultry, seafood processing, supermarket and distribution sectors will have to test 25 per cent of staff each week.
Regular testing will also occur in aged care after an agreement was struck with the federal government.
About 50 per cent of workers at metropolitan Melbourne aged care facilities and 25 per cent in regional Victoria will be tested weekly.
Workers will not be required to self-isolate unless they receive a positive result.
Mystery virus found in regional Victoria sewerage
Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human confirmed a COVID-19 positive sewerage sample was identified at Anglesea, despite the Surf Coast having no known active cases.
A testing site has opened at Anglesea Town Hall.
"We know there is either someone who has had coronavirus in the Anglesea area or someone who has passed through, but it may also be someone who is not yet aware that they have the virus," Mr Weimar said.
He encouraged anyone in the Anglesea area "who has any symptoms whatsoever, who feels remotely unwell" to get tested.
On Wednesday, Victoria recorded 13 new cases of coronavirus, the eighth day in a row the total has been below 20.
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