Victoria’s way out of coronavirus restrictions depends heavily on the lowering of its 14-day case average.
This is the number health authorities are watching as they keep tabs on the state’s progress in getting the pandemic under control.
Here’s what the 14-day average is, how it’s calculated and where it needs to be before restrictions can ease further.
What is Victoria’s 14-day case average?
The 14-day case average is the average number of new daily cases recorded over the last two weeks.
It’s updated every day as more new cases are confirmed.
The DHHS says the 14-day average is monitored across that period because that’s the typical infection period for COVID-19.
Victoria’s 14-day average peaked in early August at over 400 new cases.
What 14-day case average is Victoria aiming for?
In metropolitan Melbourne, the next stage of reopening won’t go ahead until the city reaches 14-day average daily case rate of between 30 and 50.
Regional Victoria has achieved its goal of a 14-day average of less than five and no mystery cases. Residents there have been rewarded with some eased restrictions.
The next key milestone for regional Victoria will be when there are no new cases for 14 days.
Ultimately, everyone is aiming for the 14-day average to be zero — that’s the requirement for the state to move to the last step on its reopening roadmap, flagged for November 23.
What happens when the 14-day average reaches its goals?
Moving to the next phase of easing restrictions is also dependent on public health advice and rates of mystery infections.
It’s hoped metro Melbourne will move to its second phase by September 28.
That will allow for public gatherings of up to five people from two households, more people being allowed back to work, and other changes.
Limits will start to ease on education, sport, recreation and ceremonies in the third step for Melbourne, which is flagged for October 26 if the state can manage less than an average of five daily cases.
The last step will require no new cases for 14 days state-wide and all the necessary sign-offs from public health authorities, hopefully to be achieved by November 23.