BALLARAT COVID UPDATE | Thursday, December 16:
NEW CASES: 7 (down from 11 yesterday)
ACTIVE CASES: 79 (up from 74 yesterday)
Ballarat has recorded seven new COVID cases to the 24 hours to midnight, Wednesday.
The new cases are listed in the 3350, 3352 and 3357 postcodes.
There are now 79 active cases in the city, the highest number of active infections since the start of the pandemic.
Meantime, the Moorabool Shire has reported ten new cases, taking its active tally to 40.
Nine of the new cases are in the 3340 area and one is in 3341.
The Golden Plains has had two new cases added to its total, with eight active cases.
The Hepburn and Pyrenees Shires have not reported any new cases.
VICTORIAN COVID UPDATE | Thursday, December 15
NEW CASES: 1622 (up from 1405 yesterday)
DEATHS: 9 ( Up from 3 yesterday)
ACTIVE CASES: 12,252 (down from 10,071 yesterday)
IN HOSPITAL: 384 (down from 394 yesterday)
IN ICU: 87 (up from 84 yesterday)
ON VENTILATOR: 49 (up from 46 yesterday)
Victoria has reported 1622 new COVID-19 cases and a further nine deaths, as the state slightly eases restrictions despite stubborn infection numbers and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Thursday's daily case figure is the highest since October 29 and the state is now managing 12,252 active infections.
There are 384 patients in hospital, 87 of whom are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 49 on ventilators.
The seven-day hospitalisation average is also on the rise, growing to 346.
Testers processed 80,841 results on Wednesday, while 10,816 people were vaccinated in state-run hubs.
Meanwhile, vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks remain in retail under relaxed restrictions from Thursday.
Shoppers no longer need to prove they are vaccinated to visit non-essential retail outlets, places of worship, weddings, funerals, and real estate inspections and auctions.
Victorians aged under 18 will also no longer need to show proof of vaccination.
However, hair and beauty customers must still be fully vaccinated, as must all patrons of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Mask mandates will also continue in all retail settings and for hospitality workers, but will not be required at weddings and funerals.
The changes, part of new pandemic orders signed by Health Minister Martin Foley on Wednesday, will remain in place until January 12.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned the state will see a "significant increase" in Omicron infections, pointing to the case spike in NSW and widespread infections in Europe.
A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood's The Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am last Friday night, with about 700 people who also attended the venues now deemed close contacts.
Australian Associated Press
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