Once overrun with almost 8000 active cases, Victoria will now learn if it has officially eliminated COVID-19.
That is despite elimination having never been the state’s official strategy against the highly contagious and deadly disease.
Victoria has instead pursued a suppression plan throughout the pandemic, but will nonetheless meet the official definition of elimination if no new cases are announced on Friday.
Health authorities say 28 days with no new cases means the virus has been eliminated from the community, given that period represents two 14-day incubation periods.
It would be a remarkable milestone for Victoria, considering there were 7880 active cases on August 11.
The last COVID-19 patient in a Victorian hospital was discharged on Monday, leaving the state without an active case.
Despite this, the Department of Health and Human Services revealed on Thursday afternoon that more virus fragments have been found as part of its wastewater surveillance testing program.
This time it was detected in a sample from a treatment plant in the Geelong suburb of Corio, with residents of the area and visitors from Saturday to Tuesday urged to come forward for testing.
Hotel quarantine was the ignition point for the state’s devastating second wave, which killed over 750 people and infected more than 18,000 others.
An inquiry into the botched program will hold an extraordinary hearing on Friday, with new statements from Premier Daniel Andrews, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and others expected to be released.
The premier is also set to face questions over the state’s handling of the crisis from midday as he appears before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.
Ahead of the state’s hotel quarantine system restarting for international arrivals on December 7, Mr Andrews all but ruled out a move to home quarantine – a key recommendation of the inquiry’s interim report.
“We’re going to have a hotel-based system, but it will look and be different to what it was last time,” he said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tasmania will become the latest state to reopen to Victoria on Friday after NSW removed its border checkpoints on Monday.
Queensland will follow suit on December 1.