A LEADING Mildura doctor says reaching zero active coronavirus cases in the Mildura community was an "extremely encouraging sign", but urges Sunraysia residents not to become complacent.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed on Thursday that Mildura had no active COVID-19 cases, after its declared number of cases had sat on five for more than a month.
DHHS said it would now publicly report active cases by local government area to further enhance transparency.
The positive news came as the Federal Government on Friday announced its three-stage virus exit plan with the aim of ending restrictions by July.
Mildura Base Hospital's Director of Intensive Care and Anaesthetics, Dr Alison Walker, said the zero active cases result was a credit to the Mildura community.
"We have worked together and showed the discipline as a community that's helped us to hold that overall number of cases to five," Dr Walker told Sunraysia Daily.
"It's a great sign that we now have no active cases recorded in our community.
"But that's the key point. It's only what we are aware of.
"The reality is, we don't know what's out there, so the results of the community testing will form a crucial part of the government's decision-making process."
Dr Walker pointed out the example of a staff member at Bacchus Marsh aged-care home recording a positive test this week as a reason to remain vigilant.
"It could have been anyone, and it's an example that we should all take notice of," she said.
"The staff member was not sick and had no symptoms at all, but up until she received the test result she was potentially transmitting the virus.
"There's a lot still to learn about COVID-19 and its epidemiology and our best insurance is to keep behaving responsibly.
"Social distancing, hand washing, staying home unless you really need to go out – those are the things that have got us into a really positive position, but complacency is our biggest risk."
Dr Walker said these were good practices at any time and would stand the community in good stead for winter by significantly reducing the number of sick people the system needed to manage.
"It's critically important for people not to again start to do things that could impact on the outcomes for the whole community," she said.
"Regardless of what happens with the current state of emergency, there will still be social restrictions in place and there is still a social responsibility that we all have."
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday there would be an easing of some rules in Victoria, but would not give specifics until Monday.