Victoria has reported 1622 COVID-19 cases and a further nine deaths, as the state slightly eases restrictions despite stubborn infection numbers and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Thursday’s daily case figure is the highest since October 29 and leaves the state managing 12,252 active infections.
There are 384 patients in hospital, 87 of whom are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 49 on ventilators.
The seven-day hospitalisation average is also on the rise, growing to 346.
Testers processed 80,841 results on Wednesday, while 10,816 people were vaccinated in state-run hubs.
Meanwhile, vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks remain in retail under relaxed restrictions from Thursday.
Shoppers no longer need to prove they are vaccinated to visit non-essential retail outlets, places of worship, weddings, funerals, and real estate inspections and auctions.
Victorians aged under 18 also no longer need to show proof of vaccination.
However, hair and beauty customers must still be fully vaccinated, as must all patrons of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Mask mandates will also continue in all retail settings and for hospitality workers, but will not be required at weddings and funerals.
The changes, part of pandemic orders signed by Health Minister Martin Foley on Wednesday, will remain in place until January 12.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton warned the state would have a “significant increase” in Omicron infections, pointing to the case spike in NSW and widespread infections in Europe.
A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood’s The Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am last Friday night, with about 700 people who also attended the venues now deemed close contacts.