Slight changes to coronavirus restrictions are expected to be unveiled tomorrow, but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warns it will not be "freedom day" as vaccinations levels remain too low and case numbers too high to open up.
The premier will meet with senior health officials today to discuss what the thresholds for some opening up could look like but said nothing had been decided yet.
"If we can't achieve zero, despite our best efforts, how many cases can we tolerate? It will need to be a low number. It cannot be in the hundreds because it won't be in the hundreds for long, it will race and get away from us," Mr Andrews said.
"I want to be very clear with the people of Victoria, this will not be freedom day, it will not be an opening up type day.
"It will be modest changes that hopefully can be meaningful in peoples' lives, as much economic activity as is possible but they will be very modest changes because there is no middle ground here.
"It is either very low numbers or very, very high numbers, until we get people vaccinated."
The reopening of schools tomorrow has been ruled out.
Victoria's COVID-19 Delta outbreak is shaping up to be a "pandemic of the unvaccinated", with the majority of patients hospitalised unvaccinated.
Mr Andrews said he was pursuing the national plan but the major stumbling block remained the low vaccination rates.
"The central fact of the national plan is this: you can manage a pandemic of the unvaccinated when the unvaccinated is a small group," he said.
"If it is a big group and you open up and ease too much you don't have low numbers, you have very, very high numbers. And that translates to many people in hospital.
"Victoria and the nation has only 35 per cent of people doubled dosed. Not 80 per cent vaccinated.
"The notion of trying to cope with a pandemic when you are open, with very few rules, when so few people are vaccinated, we know what that would mean. We know it may not hundreds of cases, but thousands of cases.
"If there were other options that were much easier we would choose that.
"I know lockdowns are bloody tough, they're incredibly difficult for families for businesses, for all of us.
"But the choice is not between being open and being closed. The choice is between low numbers, while we race to vaccinate, or incredibly high numbers, because we haven't vaccinated enough people yet."
Victoria has recorded 76 new coronavirus cases, with 45 infections linked to known COVID-19 outbreaks.
There are now 841 active cases of COVID-19 in the state and 31 of Tuesday's new cases are yet to be linked to existing outbreaks.
Of those, only 36 were in isolation for their infectious period.
More than 50,000 people were tested on Monday, with 32,162 vaccine doses administered. It marks an eight per cent jump in vaccine uptake over the week, with the weekend seeing a 20 per cent increase in the number of people getting the jab.
The state's exposure site list has jumped over 1000, with nearly 150 new sites added in the past day including several train lines and a Port Melbourne construction site where a new primary school is being built.
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Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in Melbourne hospitals is on the rise.
There are 52 coronavirus cases in Victorian hospitals, with 16 in intensive care and 15 on ventilators.
More than half of the patients in hospital in Victoria are under the age of 40.
The 15 people on ventilators are aged between 38 and 72.
At least six people from Shepparton have been transferred to hospital in Melbourne.
But the good news is the nine new cases in Shepparton were all in quarantine.
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said at least six people from the Shepparton outbreak had been transferred to Melbourne, as it continues to care for four other infected patients.
"The Delta variant of the coronavirus is a really nasty virus," he told reporters.
"We're seeing people come into our emergency department that are critically unwell. Somewhat surprisingly their conditions at home are deteriorating really quickly."
Although all 99 cases in the region are currently linked, Mr Sharp stopped short of declaring the outbreak was fully contained after tallying a further nine infections on Tuesday.
"The only way we'll get this under control is to have a number of consecutive zero days," he said.
On Tuesday the head of intensive care at Austin Health Dr Stephen Warrillow said the pandemic had been "relentless" on frontline workers and urged Victorians to get vaccinated.
"It is like drowning on dry land. You cannot get enough oxygen, you cannot get enough air. No matter how much you try, the relentless effort to breathe is overwhelming," Dr Warrillow said.
"Critical illness is almost unknown amongst the fully vaccinated."
Critical illness is almost unknown amongst the fully vaccinatedDr Stephen Warrillow, head of intensive care at Austin Health
With 73 new cases in total reported on Monday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state's number of cumulative days with 50 infections or more was "relatively flat compared to how it took off in NSW".
"We are hoping to see a trend, and maybe it's stabilising over the last few days," he said.
Health Minister Foley similarly hoped the outbreak had "plateaued" and said there was "every indication" the public health rules were starting to work, despite at least 49 new cases spending time in the community while infectious.
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