REGIONAL Victoria is yet to reach a point where stage four restrictions are necessary, according to Premier Daniel Andrews.
It comes as Greater Bendigo's active COVID-19 case numbers hit 52 on Thursday. Steep rises late last week appear have given way to lower numbers of new cases in recent days.
Bendigo Health chief medical officer Diana Badcock told ABC TV on Friday that two weeks ago she would have agreed Bendigo should go to stage four restrictions, but since then new case numbers had dropped.
Dr Badcock said by and large the community was stepping up and understanding the seriousness of the situation.
She said contactability was what Bendigo Health really needed from people now, urging people to keep a diary of their movements.
"We're in single figures now. It does feel manageable and under control," Dr Badcock said.
"Although we're on stage three restrictions, people who come into our area to work, they're still obliged to act under stage four restrictions."
Mr Andrews said the government was doing everything it could to avoid putting restrictions in place in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong.
But he said the challenge was undiscovered cases, urging anyone with even mild symptoms to get tested.
"I can appreciate the sense of anxiety and concern [in regional Victoria] about rules changing further. I don't think we're quite at that point yet," he said.
"Yesterday's number was 512 in regional Victoria. The advice overnight was it is relatively stable. The challenge is what cases we don't know about, which is why this testing push is important.
"It's too early to be certain about any of those [potential stage 4 restriction] matters. But I understand the anxiety. It's a matter of monitoring numbers."
Mr Andrews said the epidemiological picture, such as change of transmissions, and outbreaks versus mystery cases, was part of deciding whether to go to stage four.
He said any rules imposed would be driven by data.
"If we need to go to [stage four in regional areas], it will be based on dealing with a problem, not putting an unreasonable burden [on other areas]," he said.
Mr Andrews said the stage four restriction was about trying to protect people. He said the government wanted to avoid COVID-19 in aged care, or making large numbers of people gravely ill.
"Evidence is mounting that this is not like a cold or flu every winter were some die and the rest get it," he said.
"There is mounting evidence that [coronavirus] presents in some people more like a chronic condition so that it lingers and the effects are there some time."
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