The Premier Daniel Andrews flagged that there would be no early relief for schools or home-schooling until the health advice directed the easing of restrictions were safe, as school children passing on the virus posed a real risk.
"There's been commentary about why don't you just open them up? As difficult as home schooling is, I think opening schools up against medical advice and literally thousands of kids getting quite sick is even worse so again," Mr Andrews said.
"But at some point the question is what's your alternative? And if the best you've got is open the schools against medical advice and then have kids bring this home into family after family after family, that's not a strategy that I will pursue."
Mr Andrews would not be drawn on whether children would go back to school this term but said simply they would return when it was safe.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also revealed the latest numbers of young people who had contracted COVID with almost a quarter were under ten.
"Bear in mind that of the 600 active cases we've got now, 128 or below or up to nine years of age," Professor Sutton said.
"106 are between 10 and 19 and another 107 are between 20 and 29. So there is a risk of transmission from children to other children and children to adults."
The premier has stressed that new cases will continue to climb as long as people delay getting tested for Coronavirus.
Victoria has recorded another 80 locally acquired coronavirus cases, including 41 people who were not isolating while infectious.
"The key point is to get tested as soon as you possibly can," Mr Andrews said.
"When you register symptoms, you can't wait 7 and 8 days as, regrettably, some of today's positive cases waited a long time before they went and got tested, which meant they were in the community, out there, unknowingly, infecting other people, and often the people they love the most, their close family, immediate family and friends.
"You've got to get tested as soon as you get symptoms. Otherwise you will almost certainly give this to all the people you love and this is not a good thing to get."
Mr Andrews also cautioned against complacency and the debilitating nature of the virus.
"Don't, for heaven's sake, as some have, wait eight days and literally infect everybody you come any where near in that 8-day period. Please don't be visiting friends. Please don't be visiting family because the visitor no-one knows about is the coronavirus. You are taking it with you to the people you love. You don't want them to get sick so don't act in a selfish and irresponsible way, " Mr Andrews said.
"The rules are there to protect people. The rules are there to drive these case numbers down and if you do the right thing this will be over much sooner than it otherwise will be as we race to the 80% vaccine target."
"It is absolutely critical. If you've got symptoms today, get tested today. Don't wait a week, don't wait an afternoon. Get tested as soon as you register those symptoms."
"If you don't know your status, you could be putting others at risk."Professor Sutton
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton reiterated the message arguing health authorities were managing known cases well but it was those who were unknown that posed a huge risk.
"The challenge with those we have not tested who are suddenly turning up as positive cases and whose close contact are already positive and have therefore been-in-out in the community, sometimes substantially. So the message again - the very first sign of symptoms, please get tested.
That's the way you protect those nearest and dearest to you in your households and any other close contact you might have as an essential worker, as someone providing emergency or compassionate care to others," Professor Sutton said.
"If you don't know your status, you are putting others at risk, so for those that you love, for those that you care about, for those that you want to keep out of hospital, out of ICU, off a ventilator, please get test the.
"If you don't know your status, you could be putting others at risk."
The total number of
active cases in the state is 618. Sixty-seven cases
are linked to known sources. The outbreak has
hit Victoria's health system and is causing distress in the regional town of
The state's exposure sites list has ballooned past 800, including the emergency department of Monash Medical Centre which is now listed as a tier one exposure site.
recruiting 350 overseas doctors and nurses to ease pressure on a hospital
system facing hundreds of workers being furloughed due to coronavirus exposure,
including at Royal Melbourne Hospital and Goulburn Valley Health.
The Goulburn Valley is battling an outbreak centred in Shepparton with at least 50 cases and 17,000 residents in isolation.
Among those told to
quarantine are supermarket staff, prompting many shops to close for cleaning,
limiting access to essential supplies.
Meanwhile, more than 95,000 Victorians booked vaccine appointments at state-run hubs to 4pm on Wednesday, despite the online system being overwhelmed as Pfizer eligibility expanded to those aged 16 to 39.
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EARLIER: Shepparton's coronavirus outbreak is becoming increasingly dire, with isolation orders hitting supermarket staff, creating limited access to essential supplies.
Five out of Victoria's 41 cases reported on Wednesday live in Shepparton, bringing that cluster to 50.
The region's health service estimates 17,000 people are isolating, with more than 80 local exposure sites and 5800 primary close contacts.
Many supermarkets have closed for cleaning after being listed as an exposure site, including a large IGA in the town's north.
Coles has confirmed its stores in Shepparton, Mooroopna and Shepparton South are operating on reduced hours "due to team member availability", with a number of home delivery and click and collect orders cancelled in recent days.
In response to the crisis, Shepparton's community and volunteer organisations joined to create the GV Cares network on Monday, part of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project.
"Within the first 48 hours we've responded to 250 requests for food, formula, medicine, all sorts of things," Project executive officer Lisa McKenzie said.
"People are distressed, they're are hungry and they are fast running out of options."
Many of those isolating are aged in their 30s and 40s, which Ms McKenzie says is "the backbone of our workforce".
Shepparton Independent MP Suzanna Sheed says the community is "very anxious" about their increasingly limited access to food and other essentials.
"Due to the number of workers in isolation, many local food suppliers and the logistics they need to deliver food, are unable to provide the community with its basic needs," she said.
"The town is now in a situation where we've gone from always being able to help ourselves, and help each other, to a crisis."
Ms Sheed wants Premier Daniel Andrews to send more support, including 100 Defence personnel by Thursday for logistics including truck driving, packing and delivering supplies.
She has sent a "critical needs list" to the state government, which also includes requests for more healthcare staff, testing stations and and better resourcing of the state's COVID hotline.
On Wednesday afternoon, GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said he was expecting more cases and exposure sites to pop up and called for people to get tested.
He said about 400 GV Health staff were isolating and 50 Defence personnel had arrived to support the health service with testing and door-to-door checks.
Health Minister Martin Foley said the government was working with Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner,and further Defence support would be provided if needed.
He said the government was "well and truly engaged" with health, aged care and school services, and food supply groups in the area.
The Shepparton outbreak has been genomically linked to an earlier outbreak at Glenroy in Melbourne's outer north.
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.
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