Update, 5.45pm: Another Bulla Dairy Foods worker has tested positive to COVID-19 in Colac.
In a statement released on late Wednesday afternoon, chief executive Allan Hood said it brought infections linked to the dairy company to seven.
"Unfortunately, we have had one additional COVID-19 case confirmed within our Bulla community," he said.
"This was a result of household transmission and the Department of Health and Human Services have advised that this most recent case is not workplace related.
"This brings our total confirmed cases to seven within our Bulla team.
"This team member, along with the other six team members who are at home recovering, have the full support and well wishes of the entire Bulla family.
"As it stands, and in line with guidance from the DHHS, we are on track to reopen our Connor Street facility this Saturday September 12. We look forward to safely returning to the site and re-starting production on some of Australia's favourite ice creams."
DHHS have confirmed this seventh case is not workplace related and occurred through a family household transmission and was a household member of a Connor Street employee who was required to self-isolate at the outset.
All 244 Connor Street staff previously classified as 'close contacts' have been retested negative for COVID- 19.
The Connor St site is commencing a deep clean of the entire facility today to be completed by Friday to ensure a safe reopening.
Q&A with Daniel Andrews: your regional questions answered
Update, 5pm: PREMIER Daniel Andrews has flagged the possibility of regional Victoria 'skipping' the second step and advancing to step three of the state government's COVID roadmap, depending on cases in the next few days.
The Premier made the revelation on Wednesday afternoon during a press conference with regional media, including The Standard, via Zoom.
We've complied a Q&A of the conference:
Q: Today the state government has broken down regional and metro mystery cases, with 10 in regional Victoria, would you go further to break that down by postcode?
Premier: "If we we can provide a further breakdown I'm more than happy to do that. Ultimately the more information we can get out there the better. I know this is unrelated to south-west Victoria but for instance, down in the Latrobe Valley last week and into the week before we a had person from Melbourne travel into smaller Latrobe Valley towns and we were in a short time able to say the times he visited and places he visited as a way of warning people to come forward and get tested.
"There's been similar stuff happening in terms of Colac where there's been very good contact tracing.
"I want to get to a situation with the dashboard where we would be able to say to a community, for example there's been a case in Port Fairy, if you were at that supermarket between these hours please get tested.
"With mystery cases it's harder because we know where a person's been but can't get a complete picture because we don't know who they got it from, how or when. Also people can be infectious without knowing it of course."
Q: If we do get a spike in mystery cases, does that mean we'd revert back to the previous step?
Premier: "No, this stratey is about driving numbers down to a low level and keeping them at a low level, we're not like New Zealand where they want to be at zero cases forever.
"It would only be if we lost control, a handful of mystery cases would not mean we've lost control, but if we lost control and there were hundreds, only then would we take a step back.
"Even when we open up, and take that second and third step there will still be rules, there will still be COVID plans, all the rules will still need to be followed.
"That's where a difference between normal and a COVID normal is so important."
Q: Can a 'singles bubble' be between a person in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne?
Premier: "That's not allowed as we are trying to limit travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria."
Q: You flagged an overhaul of council outdoor dining limits in regional Victoria this morning, can you expand on this?
Premier: "You'll hear more about that quite soon, I can't give an exact day, but dining will be predominantly outside with some inside seating and use of toilets. We want to try and get people in the safest environments possible, mainly outdoors, subject to industry consultations in regional Victoria.
"I'm not having go at local government but there are rules that make that hard so we're going to get rid of those rules to make it much easier to help publicans and restaurateurs to make the shift.
"If New York and London can do it why can't we?
"When we can provide that update we will."
Q: Western Victorian MP Stuart Grimley has written to you and asked if sole traders like beauty salons would be able to open in step two. Is that possible?
Premier: "First and most importantly there's every chance regional Victoria doesn't take just one step, with the numbers as they are now, we will wait until the 14 day average to pan out, but we're looking at the third step.
"We're talking about whole lot of different businesses opening, and real estate back to normal, but other beauty and personal care businesses will remain close.
"Once further steps are taken they would be allowed to open, the best thing we can do is wait until how the threshold is met and the aftermath of significant easing, what is the lowest risk for the highest gain."
Q: Will regional Victoria continue to move to the next steps as one region or will areas with less or no cases move independently?
Premier: "The point I've made to many people across regional Victoria, is firstly no cases that we know of - the Apollo Bay testing gives a sense that sometimes we have virus in a community and not have positive recorded cases.
"If we were proposing that regional Victoria wouldn't take a second or third step for six or eight weeks then I would have gone to the option of having different regional zones, but regional Victoria I think will take not just a second but a third step really soon and have completely and wildly different rules than metropolitan Melbourne.
"Todays's numbers in regional Victoria are still sitting at five cases on a 14 day average, there will be some substantial relief for regional communities soon."
Q: If regional Victoria as a whole doesn't meet the average will you treat regional areas that do meet the criteria separately and release restrictions earlier for them?
Premier: "If Geelong for example was holding back the rest of regional Victoria we might need special treatment for that region - not just Geelong but the six local government areas in the Greater Geelong corridor, including Colac.
"But current trends don't indicate that will be in place.
"It's always best to try and move as one for the simplest most enforceable rules.
"Geelong looked like it could have been the one treated differently but numbers are stable and coming down. But if the Geelong corridor cases continued to increase the rest of regional Victoria would follow different steps.
"We would have a situation where Wangaratta was stuck because there's cases in the suburbs of Geelong for example."
Q: With the Geelong corridor including Colac on watch, is there a specific number that would put Colac in a different situation to the rest of Victoria?
Premier: "No I think because of the substantial work being done there we're not talking about applying additional rules.
"Part of putting the Geelong corridor on close watch is we're trying to be as fair as frank as possible, but I think the numbers are quite good. It's not like Geelong has 50, 60 ,70 cases as they were.
"At this stage we need to wait until tomorrow and the next day's numbers
"We've still got week or so to go at least before we hit that target but the signs are promising."
Q: What if Colac got to the third or fourth step and we see cases skyrocket up into the 30s quite quickly, would we step back?
Premier: "It's difficult because it becomes a matter of what's the nature of the outbreak, how confident are we that we've got control of it, and regional contact tracing and sewage testing.
"if that happened we would put a ring around it and say it's significant but contained and we don't need to change the broad settings.
"But if it's a school, or meatworks, it would be closed and deep cleaned, that's why those workplace rules are in place.
"It's never easy to pull up an outbreak and it was at say 300 it wouldn't be a local outbreak anymore.
"I don't want people thinking there's a zero tolerance policy once we open up, not like New Zealand shutting everything down again.
"Bringing a broad region back a step would be the last lever to pull."
Q: With the Apollo Bay situation, there's a lot of coastal towns along the Great Ocean Road, is it suspected that there are other undetected cases in those towns and will you be stepping up testing as result?
Premier: "We will see more testing for a couple reasons: people hear that a trace element was found multiple times and I think if they've got any symptoms people will be coming forward and getting tested, that message is out there.
"It's the power of this additional tool we've got to find traces, and we encourage the community to get tested.
"We couldn't rule out looking at other Great Ocean Road townships.
"With people being as protective of their no to low virus status I think more people are coming forward if they've got symptoms."
Q: What happens when regional Victoria hits a trigger point, will we be opening the next day?
Premier: "As long as enough people are coming forward to get tested, then yes.
"Overall test numbers in regional Victoria are enough at the moment for us to have confidence, it's a good measure for how much virus is out there, but nothing beats symptomatic people coming forward and getting tested.
"There are no further hoops than that. If no one was coming forward to get tested then we can't open, we won't have confidence to reopen."
Q: Will mask wearing still be the same in regional Victoria?
Premier: "I think it's a very significant benefit for a very low cost.
"I know not everyone enjoys wearing masks and as the weather gets hotter it's challenging, but they do provide a level of protection that gives everybody greater confidence be open and stay open.
"Of course the experts will have their view and it could be that those settings change, the benefit is substantial.
"They're going to be a feature of our COVID normal, I see them as low cost for a potentially very significant benefit."
Q: We had a devastating bushfire season last year, is the government planning to deal with the pandemic and natural disaster at the same time?
Premier: "While there's a lot of effort going dealing with the principal challenge there are other challenges coming. It's fair to say some of prediction work done is forecasting significant spring rain, so that is good and bad.
"I want to reassure readers and everyone across regional Victoria that while there's a massive effort towards the pandemic, there's lot of hard work getting ready for another fire season.
"Each fire season we plan for the worst, and worse than the year before.
"For example we're taking a good close look at what the restrictions might mean for people traveling from Melbourne to regional Victoria to do fire preparation and cleaning up their second properties, and we need to make sure we have a big aerial fleet, and controlled burning - I know the CFA has had to wind that back - but any catch up we need to do we will do as fast as we can.
"There's an enormous effort going on to be ready for the fire season. 2020 is one of those years you assume we'll be tested on all fronts.
DHHS figures show stable regional Victorian numbers
Update, 3pm: The Department of Health and Human Services data shows stabilisation in regional Victoria, with cases relatively unchanged on Wednesday.
There are 30 active cases in Colac-Otway Shire. This time last week there were 11 cases in Colac, showing a more than doubling of cases in seven days.
There are 15 cases linked to Bulla Dairy Foods Colac, unchanged from yesterday.
Chief executive Allan Hood said the 20 people announced as close household contacts earlier today are over 17 individual families.
There remains one active case in Warrnambool and Corangamite Shire, unchanged from yesterday, and no cases in Moyne, Southern Grampians and Glenelg Shires.
There's one active case in Surf Coast Shire, scven in Moorabool,15 in Geelong, two in Bendigo, zero in Ballarat, three in Horsham, and none in Golden Plains Shire.
Colac cases climb to 30 as state records another 76 infections, 11 deaths
Earlier, 11.30am: COLAC now has 30 active cases, an increase of five overnight, as new data shows regional Victoria has 10 active cases with an unknown source.
The postcodes of those mystery cases are unknown.
The daily average case numbers in Victoria have increased back to five, and to 74.5 in metropolitan Melbourne.
The state has an 80.8 per cent daily case average.
The mystery cases and daily rise is expected to impede regional Victoria's ability to advance to step three of the new roadmap, but Premier Daniel Andrews said the overall picture in regional Victoria was still promising.
"In general regional Victorian case numbers remain low," Premier Andrews said.
"There will need to be further days to reopen regional Victoria further.
"The overall picture in regional Victoria is very good."
There are seven more cases in regional Victoria, bringing active cases to 82.
He said Geelong had 15 cases, Bendigo two, and no cases Ballarat.
"When you think about only a few weeks ago more than 500 cases in regional Victoria to now 82, we're getting closer day by day to ease restrictions in Victoria."
There have been 76 new cases reported in Victoria today.
A further 11 Victorians have lost their lives to the virus.
The deaths include one woman in her 60s, three women and two men in their 80s, and three women and two men in their 90s.
Nine of the deaths are linked to aged care outbreaks.
There are 196 Victorians in hospital, with 20 in intensive care and 12 on ventilators.
Testing numbers have doubled on yesterday, with 16,686 being processed overnight.
Of the state's 1622 active cases, 252 are healthcare workers, 82 are in regional Victoria - an increase of seven cases, 17 in disability settings, and 829 in aged care.
DHHS deputy secretary for community engagement and testing Jeroen Weimar said no positive cases had been detected in Apollo Bay after virus was detected in the wastewater on September 1 and 5.
People from Apollo Bay and nearby communities with even mild symptoms are urged to get tested, with more than 60 local people already answering the call to be tested since the weekend.
"A critical part of the approach is providing continuous surveillance across the state including wastewater across 25 sites," he said.
"Apollo Bay is one location where we picked up a positive sign in the water catchment.
"To date we've had all test results back apart from nine all come back negative. We continue to implore people if you are in Apollo Bay and have even remote symptoms please get tested."
The testing of wastewater has been used to detect virus like polio for years.
The testing of the 25 water sites gives a sample of seven per cent of the Victorian population.
Today's announcement continues an extended run of daily increases in double digits.
The number follows 55 new cases on Tuesday, 41 new cases on Monday, 63 new cases on Sunday and 76 new cases on Saturday.
20 household members of close contacts isolating in Colac
Earlier, 10am: BULLA Dairy Foods has confirmed 20 employees who are household members of a defined close contact are currently in isolation and will not need to be re-tested if that close contact tests negative.
The dairy company said all 247 Connor Street staff, where the Bulla outbreak first occurred, need to be retested for COVID-19 in line with state guidelines.
The site will be deep cleaned today and reopened on Saturday.
Chief executive Allan Hood said when the results of their Connor Street close contact household members come back as negative, those 20 isolating employees will be able to return to work.
DHHS confirmed on Tuesday night that all results from the surveillance testing conducted at Bulla's Forest Street site in Colac last Thursday are also negative.
"The remaining Bulla Colac team members at the Forest Street, Innovation Centre and Kelly Court sites who were tested have all been permitted to continue working with no self-isolation required following their tests," Mr Hood said.
"There is no requirement for this group to be retested."
There are six positive cases linked to Bulla Dairy Foods in Colac after an employee tested positive on August 30.
Local health authorities said this second outbreak in Colac came from a man who traveled to a Melbourne hospital for treatment and got infected with the virus, and brought it back to Colac.
There are now 25 active cases in Colac-Otway Shire from that single case.
There have been a further 76 cases and 11 deaths recorded in Victoria on Wednesday.
DHHS has recorded 10 mystery cases in regional Victoria.
- Regional Victorian daily average cases now at 4.9
- South-west MP says people going to Melbourne for medical appointments need to quarantine
- Regional Victoria 14-day average COVID cases falls to 4.9 as pressure builds to open up country areas
- Warrnambool hospital chief executive welcomes new state roadmap
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.