Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the latest COVID-19 statistics, with 357 new cases recorded in the state over the past 24 hours.
There were a further five deaths bringing the state's total to 61 who have died since the start of the pandemic. A woman in her 60s, a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s lost their lives overnight.
There have now been 20 days where the number of new cases has run in to triple-digits.
And today marks exactly six months since Australia's first confirmed case of COVID-19, a man from Wuhan who flew to Melbourne from Guandong on January 19.
If they (masks) are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We can't rule out going further with rule changes, but it's a big game changer.Premier Andrews
It takes Victoria to 7762 cases in total, with 3995 of those currently being active.
There are now 229 people in hospitals across Victoria, with 42 in intensive care.
And 313 health care workers are among the number of active cases across the state.
Premier Andrews said 536 active cases were in aged care settings with outbreaks in 38 aged care homes across the state, with cases split fairly evenly between staff and residents.
The premier refused to rule out further restrictions but pointed to masks being the current strategy to stop the spread.
"Masks are effectively our stage four," Mr Andrews said.
"If they are worn by everybody, we may not need to go further. We can't rule out going further with rule changes, but it's a big game changer."
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton described the figures as part of a "really challenging epidemic curve to overcome".
"We knew it wasn't like the first wave; numbers have remained stubbornly high and haven't gone up significantly or down significantly in the last week."
Professor Sutton said moving to stricter stage four lockdown conditions would not necessarily prevent further outbreaks from occurring.
"Where people talk about stage four and broader shutdowns, the very places we are seeing outbreaks and transmission are places that would remain open if we went to kind of stage four sectoral shutdown.
"These are areas we need to focus on we shouldn't pretend that a really broad shut down of industry will address where we are seeing transmission."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Premier Andrews once again encouraged people to get tested - even if they have only mild symptoms.
Yesterday there were 20,313 tests conducted taking the state's total to 1,457,546.
The new statistics still indicate a concerning level of community transmission, but Victoria's chief health officer said community transmission was lower in most regional areas.
The breakdown of cases by local government area will be sent out later today.
Currently the Ballarat municipality has 11 active cases.
There were none registered until July 17 when Ballarat registered its first positive COVID case since mid-May. Numbers increased steadily after that first case.
In recent days, concerns have been raised over contact tracing and planning to manage for outbreaks in aged care homes.
MORE ON CORONVIRUS
Stage 3 "Stay at Home" restrictions remain in force across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
There are only four reasons for people to leave their homes: shopping for food and essential items; care and caregiving; daily exercise; and work and study.
WHERE TO TAKE A COVID-19 TEST IN BALLARAT
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, make an appointment either online or by phone (4311 1571) to take a test at Lucas Community Hub. Tests are by appointment only.
- There is now a testing site at the Ballarat Senior Citizens Centre in the CBD. People are encouraged to book a test by calling 1800 054 172.
AFFECTED BY THIS STORY?
Support is available. You are never alone.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
- Survivors of Suicide: 0449 913 535
- Relationships Australia: 1800 050 321
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Soldier On: 1300 620 380
- Ballarat Community Health: 5338 4500
- QLife: 1800 184 527 (Support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECTVeterans support: If you or someone you know needs support call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit www.openarms.gov.au
- For Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (noon to 10pm)
The Courier has removed the paywall from our stories relating to health warnings and safety of the community in regards to the coronavirus. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.