There were still 337 active cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers on Thursday, including those working in aged care.

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“If we cannot bring that down as fast as general population counts, we may struggle to consistently get less than 50 [new cases] per day,” Professor Blakely said.

Department of Health and Human Services data shows healthcare worker infections made up 65 per cent of cases recorded in the week to Thursday.

Premier Daniel Andrews hosed down reports about a draft reopening plan which would see Melbourne’s stage four lockdown extended, saying the document has “no status”.

He urged the public to wait until Sunday to hear the government’s definitive proposal to ease restrictions, after the draft document prepared by the Health Department showed a plan to extend the stage four lockdown until September 28.

Meanwhile, the mayors of Melbourne, Yarra, Hobsons Bay and Mitchell Shire councils have written to state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos calling for a new community-based response to coronavirus to drive down infections.

Contact tracing would shift from Victoria’s Health Department to local hubs under the proposal.

It is based on work by the Burnet Institute, which has devised a model that harnesses the knowledge of councils and health and community groups to swiftly begin contact tracing and provide support to infected locals.

The model has been adopted in regional areas such as Geelong, which was the first contact tracing centre established outside of Melbourne.

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Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at a.mcmillan@theage.com.au

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