SECONDARY close contacts for COVID-19 will no longer need to isolate in regional Victoria, unless they have symptoms for the deadly virus.
About 16,000 secondary close contacts will receive a test message from the Victorian health department this weekend to effectively set them free.
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.
Victorian health department deputy secretary Kate Matson said the departmnet would not longer be monitoring secondary close contacts, due to the sheer volume of cases, and it had been this was in metropolitan areas for awhile now.
Ms Matson said support for confirmed COVID cases and primary close contacts were now deemed "actions of highest value" and the risk for cases emerging from secondary contacts was quite 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.
"However, in this environment, we will no longer be actively managing secondary close contacts. We do ask people who are confirmed cases if they could advise their primary close contacts, their primary close contacts again might chose to notify their secondary close contacts. We will not actively be managing them within our public health units."
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.
Now, secondary close contacts did not need to isolate for 14 days unless that primary close contact became COVID-positive.
Anyone with the slightest of symptoms must get a COVID test.
There are 17000 active COVID cases in Victoria, as of Saturday.
Three new cases were reported in Ballarat on Saturday after 28 cases recorded in the three days prior.
An airline cabin crew member has tested positive for coronavirus after travelling on flights across three states while potentially infectious, Victorian health authorities say.
Ms Matson told reporters on Saturday a Virgin Australia cabin crew member had tested positive, after routine surveillance testing by the airline.
"They worked whilst infectious from the fourth to sixth October, and there were six flights in or out of Melbourne that were affected," she said."Fellow crew members on those flights have been deemed close contacts. Most do live in Melbourne and will be contacted by the department."
The six flights included return trips from Melbourne to Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle, with passengers on affected flights to be contacted by their state health bodies.
Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has announced a $15 million support package for the creative sector to help plan for future reopening.
Individual creative workers and micro-businesses can apply for funding to develop new work, undertake professional development and reach new audiences through a new $5 million round of the Sustaining Creative Workers initiative.
One-off grants of $5,000 will be available for creative practitioners, including sole traders and freelancers, and grants of up to $10,000 are available for collectives, micro-organisations and businesses.
It remains unconfirmed when regional theatre can recommence.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.