Ballarat has missed out as a potential trial location for a 'vaccinated economy' starting next month after the lingering effects of the last week's delta outbreak continue to trouble the city.
The number of active cases in Ballarat yesterday reached 21 after the city recorded two new cases yesterday and health authorities listed four new COVID exposure sites including two urgent Tier One sites.
Carl's Jr. in Creswick Road and CHS Broadbent's Head Office in Gillies Street, Wendouree were listed as Tier 1 exposure sites by the health department. The Cheesecake Shop in Sturt Street and The Arch View Café at 1728 Sturt Street in Alfredton were also listed as a Tier 2 sites.
Tier 1 exposure sites demand immediate testing and 14 day quarantine while Tier 2 requires testing urgently and isolation until a negative result is received for anybody who was exposed.
There have also been multiple wastewater notifications, highlighting fears by health authorities that there may be undetected and asymptomatic cases still in the community.
Ballarat Health services confirmed several new exposure sites stemmed from one new household which included two positive cases of unknown acquisition, and another positive case visiting from metropolitan Melbourne.
BHS also said none of the active cases were being cared for in hospital but would continue to monitor them remotely.
Grampians Public Health Unit, Medical Director, Associate Professor Rosemary Aldrich said the latest detections showed how vital it was that people continued to get tested even with the mildest or past symptoms.
"It is possible that you could have had COVID without realising," Professor Aldrich said in a statement. "COVID can be very mild. If you have had symptoms recently but think your symptoms are gone now please still get tested to make sure it was not COVID. Please do not delay - COVID might be mild in you but could have a severe impact on someone close to you."
The developments take place as the state government released its list of LGAs invited to be part of the first stage of a vaccine passport trial project in October but Ballarat was not on it.
Regional areas with high vaccination rates and low or no COVID-19 cases were chosen for the list that includes the Pyrenees shire as well as Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland municipalities to be the first invited to participate in the trials.
On Sunday, Minister Martin Pakula announced the shires would be part of a 'vaccinated economy' trial.
Mr Pakula said the trial, which was expected to start on October 11, would involve industries like hospitality, hair and beauty, and tourism.
Under the trial, patron caps at venues and events will be expanded as all attendees will have to be fully vaccinated.
Details on how the technology will work has not yet been finalised
"Businesses and events are on the front line of this vital campaign to keep Victorians safe and our economy recovering strongly," Mr Pakula said.
"We'll do the work on these trials and provide businesses with the support they need to maintain and build on the gains that continue to be enabled by vaccination."
COVID-19 restrictions are also expected to ease slightly from Tuesday night as the state reaches its 80 per cent first dose target.
In regional Victoria, outdoor settings for restaurants and cafes will have their outdoor venue cap increase from 20 to 30 people.
Masks can also be removed for some services in hair and beauty salons, so facials and beard trimmings can recommence.
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