WATCH

Another day over 500 cases as COVID-19 spreads to the regions

Victoria has recorded 510 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases and one death, as more than 100,000 of the state's health workers issue a joint plea for the health system to be prioritised over opening up.

Friday's new infections bring the total number of active cases in the state to 4697, while the death brings the toll from the current outbreak to nine.

Authorities have linked 124 of the new cases to existing outbreaks and the source of 386 infections is under investigation.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Picture: DARREN HOWE

COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Regional Victoria has nine new cases of COVID-19 overnight including one in east Wimmera and three in Ballarat.

COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar said the case in east Wimmera was an individual who is isolating closely and lives in a remote location.

"We have a good inquiry line around the source of the acquisition and should land that over the coming day or so,' he said.

"The link we believe is from workers from Ballarat that came in. We will follow that up in next day or so."

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Ballarat now has nine active cases. All are spread across three households with the three new cases from known household primary contacts.

Mr Weimar said the state government had identified 187 primary close contacts from the Ballarat outbreak with two thirds already returning negative test results.

"There are now 30 exposure sites across Ballarat and we ask the community to continue to come forward and get tested," he said.

Geelong has also seen two new cases while two Melbourne cases have been identified in people who work at an office building in Geelong.

"This is another example to call out to employers on the clear guidelines as what constitutes essential work," Mr Weimar said. "Employers should consider the guidelines carefully before requiring staff to come to work. Work should be essential, not convenient."

On Thursday Premier Daniel Andrews announced a series of "moderate" steps out of lockdown for Victoria.

From 11.59pm Friday night, there will also be some changes to COVID-Safe settings in regional Victoria.

The changes exclude the City of Ballarat which entered lockdown yesterday.

Mr Andrews announced that gyms and outdoor and indoor pools (excluding spas, saunas and steam rooms) will reopen with limits.

Hydrotherapy and swimming lessons can occur and tour buses can operate up to 10 people.

"They are small steps but they are safe steps to take. That's the view of the Chief Health Officer, and it's on that basis that we have endorsed this opening up," Mr Andrews said.

This story 500+ cases for Victoria, one death as COVID spreads to the regions first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.