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Third death in NSW aged care virus cluster

A third resident of a western Sydney nursing home has died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Operator Anglicare Sydney says a 92-year-old woman at its Newmarch House aged care home in Caddens died late on Tuesday morning.

Anglicare says the woman had tested positive for COVID-19 and also had multiple health issues, although the cause of death is yet to be formally determined.

“I have spoken personally to the immediate family of the resident to convey our deepest sympathies,” Anglicare Sydney’s chief executive Grant Millard said in a statement.

Newmarch House is home to about 100 people with 28 residents and 14 staff infected with the coronavirus. Strict isolation protocols are in place.

A worker with mild symptoms entered Newmarch House on six consecutive days, leading NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant to warn even those with mild symptoms should avoid work and get tested.

The woman is the third person from the facility to die after testing positive to the virus following the deaths of two men aged 93 and 94.

Her death brings the state’s toll to 31.

It comes as school students across NSW will receive face-to-face learning one day a week from May 11, building up to a full-time return to the classroom in term three.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says public, Catholic and independent schools are all on board with the plan.

Schools are currently open amid the coronavirus pandemic but students are encouraged to learn from home.

From May 11, no more than a quarter of the school cohort will be on campus at one time and students will learn the same unit of work regardless of their location.

Schools will also have the ability to check students’ temperature where appropriate and cleaning protocols will be ramped up.

NSW Department of Education secretary Mark Scott describes it as a “hybrid model” that will allow for appropriate distancing at schools while giving students and teachers a more normal learning setting.

Schools will have the first two weeks of the term to work out how they’re going to make the new guidelines work, he told ABC television on Tuesday.

Medical advice states the highest transmission risk in schools is between teachers rather than students.

Elderly or ill teachers have been advised to remain at home and teachers suffering from respiratory symptoms will receive priority coronavirus testing.

The government is aiming for a full-time return to school in term three, starting in late July, but pledged to pay close attention to the data and change tack if required.

“Will it be the same as kids going to school under normal circumstances? No, it won’t,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Jodi McKay argues there’s confusion and inconsistency, with school principals left to work out a way forward on their own.

Meanwhile, six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in NSW on Tuesday, taking the state total to 2969 with 21 people in intensive care.

It’s the second consecutive day in which six new cases have been confirmed.

Originally published as Third death in NSW aged care virus cluster

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