THERE are still only three active COVID-19 cases in central Victoria.
Data released from the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday showed two active coronavirus cases listed in Greater Bendigo and one active case in the Macedon Ranges.
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There were no active cases in the Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields, Loddon, Campaspe, Ganawarra, and Buloke shires.
The rolling daily average case number for regional Victoria was 4.5.
A two-week average of less than five new cases daily is one of the metrics regional Victoria must meet before it can take the 'third step' in the plan to move out of COVID-19 restrictions.
The other is zero new cases with an unknown source over 14 days.
Victoria's premier has again suggested coronavirus restrictions will ease significantly in regional areas in the near future.
Daniel Andrews used his briefing on Thursday morning to confirm there were no new cases reported overnight in country Victoria.
There were two active cases in Greater Bendigo.
Across regional Victoria there were 72 active cases, including 29 in the Colac area and 11 in Greater Geelong. There were no active cases in the Ballarat region.
The rolling 14-day average for new cases for regional Victoria was 4.5 - below the level required for areas outside metropolitan Melbourne to move to reduced restrictions.
But the source of eight cases in regional Victoria remained unknown.
Mr Andrews said there will be "an opportunity quite soon" for an easing of restrictions in country Victoria.
"Regional Victoria is quite close to being able to take not just one step, but two," he said.
"We are very close to being able to take substantial steps towards that 'COVID normal'."
Deputy chief health officer Allen Cheng agreed that the signs remain positive in the regions, but said the remaining 'mystery cases' were being investigated.
"All my friends in regional Victoria will be holding their breath ... making sure that nothing else comes up in the next week or so, but we hope that will be some time later next week," Professor Cheng said.
"[But] the five cases a day [rolling average] is not a hard-and-fast rule."
There are no active cases in the Central Goldfields, Mount Alexander, Campaspe or Loddon shires.
A pop-up testing clinic opened at Bendigo's La Trobe University clinic on Wednesday.
In the week to Tuesday, Bendigo Health completed an average of 159 tests each day across its testing sites.
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said this was down by about 100 a day.
"To some degree that's not unexpected with an improvement in the weather, we would expect there is less common cold and influenza circulating in the community, so presumably less people with mild symptoms," Mr Faulkner said.
"However, it is the time of year that allergies start to emerge, and we would really encourage people not to just dismiss symptoms as a little bit of hayfever or something such, that they really should come and get tested."
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