SECONDARY close contacts for coronavirus will no longer need to isolate in regional Victoria under the state's rolling changes to adapt to a COVID normal.
About 16,000 secondary close contacts received a text message from the Victorian health department at the weekend to effectively set them free - unless they had COVID symptoms.
This will means family members of primary close contacts will be free to move in the community, under existing restrictions, such as doing grocery shopping.
The move follows a government drop in naming tier two public exposure sites in regional Victoria.
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Victorian health department deputy secretary Kate Matson said the department would no longer monitor secondary close contacts, due to sheer COVID case volume, and it had been this way in metropolitan areas for a while now.
Victoria confirmed 1,612 new COVID cases on Monday, with eight deaths recorded.
There were more than 19,000 active cases in the state.
Ms Matson said support for confirmed COVID cases and primary close contacts were now deemed "actions of highest value".
She said the risk from secondary close contacts was low.
"[Secondary close contacts have] been able to help us remain at COVID zero throughout most of 2021 and it's been an extremely successful part of our contact tracing and our test, trace and isolate efforts," Ms Matson said.
"We do ask people who are confirmed cases if they could advise their primary close contacts, their primary close contacts again might choose to notify their secondary close contacts."
Primary close contacts, those who have come into direct contact with a confirmed COVID case, are still urged to isolate from the rest of their household - advice that Ms Matson said had always been the case to protect loved one.
Secondary close contacts only need to isolate for 14 days should that primary contact became COVID-positive.
Meanwhile, Grampians Public Health Unit medical director Rosemary Aldrich reiterated infection from a tier two site had proven rare.
Associate Professor Aldrich said people who were vaccinated against COVID-19 should feel confident to go about their daily activities.
"I can understand why people might be hesitant...[but] being vaccinated is the best we can do," Associate Professor Aldrich said.
"While a person who is vaccinated can acquire COVID and be infected with COVID we know vaccination works really, really well to protect against severe disease.
"If I was to get COVID today, I feel confident it might be a bad cold, I might have some nasty symptoms but I will recover.
"Every season we get a head-cold here or a flu-like illness there and it doesn't really stop us doing much, except when we're unwell. I think we'll come to live with COVID in the same way."
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