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Elderly woman becomes 53rd NSW virus death

NSW has recorded its first COVID-19 death in more than 10 days after an elderly Sydney woman linked to the Our Lady of Lebanon Church cluster died.

The woman, in her 80s, is the 53rd coronavirus death in NSW and brings the national toll to 361.

The previous death in NSW was on August 1 – an 83-year-old man linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula.

NSW recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, with four linked to known clusters, three with no known source and five returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

NSW Health on Thursday confirmed that a previously reported case linked to Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta attended two southwestern Sydney venues while infectious.

People who were at Westfield Liverpool last Thursday and Friday and 5th Avenue Beauty Bar in Wetherill Park on Saturday are considered casual contacts and are advised to monitor for symptoms.

Our Lady of Mercy College will remain closed until August 24 to allow for contact tracing after a third case was linked to the high school. Staff and students have been told to isolate and get tested.

As of Wednesday, 19 cases were linked to Cherrybrook’s Tangara School for Girls. The original source is still unknown.

The outbreak has been linked to a nearby Opus Dei Catholic study centre, Eremeran, which is closed for cleaning after recently hosting five senior schoolgirls taking part in a religious retreat.

Tangara’s secondary and junior school will remain closed until August 24 with online schooling to continue until then.

NSW Health on Thursday evening advised of a new public health alert for Liverpool Hospital and Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club, with a third hospital staff member confirmed with the virus and a second case confirmed at the club.

Contact tracing is underway and the people concerned are in isolation, with warnings issued for any possible contacts to monitor for symptoms and get tested if possibly exposed at those venues last week.

“There is no evidence that there is ongoing risk in the hospital, and patients should continue to visit to receive the medical care they need,” NSW Health said in a statement.

There are 135 coronavirus-infected people being treated by NSW Health, with seven in ICU and six of these on ventilators.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned NSW might need tougher measures to halt the spread of the virus and could make wearing masks mandatory on public transport, at religious services and in supermarkets.

Ms Berejiklian says her major concern is the “cumulative accumulation of those unknown sources” of infection.

She reiterated the state is on high alert as it tries to contain the virus clusters.

Meanwhile, a pub in Sydney’s inner west has been slapped with two fines totalling $10,000 for what Liquor and Gaming said was a “complete disregard” of compulsory COVID-19 safety measures.

Inspectors found the Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle wasn’t registered as COVID safe, sign-in procedures were not enforced, there was a lack of hygiene processes, customers were mingling while drinking and physical distancing was not enforced.

Inspectors labelled it “the worst pub seen so far” over its litany of COVID safety breaches.

“The venue was essentially being operated as though there were no restrictions in place,” director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said in a statement.

“Now is not the time to be facilitating mingling among strangers, let alone allowing patrons to stand on your pub balcony sculling beers.”

Eight other venues were fined this week for COVID-19 safety breaches.

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