Premier Daniel Andrews said while regional bubbles sound logical, their implementation and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases hinder them becoming a reality.
In addressing regional media on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Andrews pointed to testing of sewerage in Apollo Bay, which revealed COVID-19 cases in a community that hadn't registered positive cases.
"Some people have symptoms so mild they wouldn't even register," Mr Andrews said.
Seven new COVID-19 cases have been reported in regional Victoria on Wednesday, but the rolling 14-day average is five, an increase from 4.9.
Mr Andrews said regional Victoria is ahead of Melbourne on the COVID-19 roadmap and will progress faster because of its improved position.
The number of cases of unknown source in regional Victoria remains a mystery.
"As numbers fall, the investigative work becomes easier," Mr Andrews said.
"We have to be really careful that we have the best picture of how much virus is out there, otherwise we run the risk of opening up and having a spike."
The Department of Health and Human Services' daily update revealed of the 1622 active cases in Victoria, 15 are unknown or subject to further investigation.
There are 1523 active cases in Melbourne and 82 in regional Victoria, with Greater Bendigo's active case numbers remaining steady at two.
As the number of regional COVID-19 cases continues to fall, there are calls for the government to reconsider its COVID-19 strategy in regional Victoria.
Julie-Anna Inn owner Kristyn Slattery said the state's COVID-19 roadmap offered no clear path to recovery or light at the end of the tunnel for accommodation providers in Bendigo.
"We rely on other regions to support our businesses," Ms Slattery said.
"If creating bubbles allows the rest of the state to travel and businesses to function, then we can start our rebuilding process."
Bendigo's motels are in the midst of single digit occupancy rates, a six-fold decrease compared to year-on-year figures.
Ms Slattery said a moratorium on rental evictions and temporary financial subsidies would only help the sector for so long.
"It's prolonging the pain," Ms Slattery said.
"These measures keep the issues at bay, but only to a degree.
"I've been in this industry for 26 years and just keep shaking my head."
Regional cities 'don't need stop, start, stop, start approach'
Regional Cities Victoria and Bendigo Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said a localised approach to containing COVID-19 outbreaks is crucial.
"We would love to see the virus eradicated, but if there are outbreaks, to manage it locally rather than having an impact on the broader regional community is important," Ms O'Rourke said.
Some regional local government areas being open and others not could be a source of confusion for people, Ms O'Rourke said.
"We don't want to stop, start, stop, start all the time," she said.
"As numbers continue to come down, there might be an outbreak somewhere, but having localised contact tracing means other regional areas don't get impacted."
Ms O'Rourke said Regional Cities Victoria has been in constant dialogue with the state about its roadmap.
"It is an ongoing piece of work, with the science being updated all the time, so we are getting our guidance from the numbers," she said.
A 'more nuanced' approach is needed
Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said the state government's contact tracing was a failure.
"There's 22 per cent of all cases in Victoria that haven't been accurately traced.
"Victoria's contact tracing has been woeful and the Premier can't continue to punish regional communities for his own failure."
Ms Lovell is calling for a more nuanced approach to easing restrictions in regional Victoria.
"It's time our COVID-free communities are allowed to reopen instead of lumping everyone together," she said.
"There hasn't been a new case in the past 14 days in 18 local government areas."
From next week, childcare centres will reopen and outdoor recreation permitted, but there will remain only four reasons to leave home and restrictions continue for many businesses, including those in the hospitality sector.
In order to move to the third step of the COVID-19 roadmap, regional Victoria needs to post an average of fewer than five COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and no cases of unknown source.
The 14-day COVID-19 average cases in regional Victoria is 5.
Victoria has recorded 76 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.
There are 21 more cases on Wednesday, compared to the 55 cases recorded on Tuesday.
A further 11 deaths were announced by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday morning..
Greater Bendigo's active case number decreased from four cases to two yesterday, with no new COVID-19 cases recorded in the past six days.