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Photograph: Unsplash/Danielle Cerullo

A gym in Casula has become the second confirmed virus hotspot in South West Sydney

Thirty four infected people have now been linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak

Written by
Maxim Boon

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard has announced two men in their 20s have been infected at the Planet Fitness Gym in Casula after a confirmed case from the Crossroads Hotel cluster trained at the gym while infectious. This is the first confirmed location beyond the Crossroads Hotel where community transmission connected to the cluster has been detected.

Ten more people have joined the growing list of confirmed cases in the Casula cluster, bringing the total to 34. Two other cases confirmed in the same 24-hour reporting period were returned travellers in hotel quarantine. The state’s chief medical officer, Dr Kerry Chant, called on all patrons of Planet Fitness in Casula who attended the gym between July 4 to 10 to self isolate for 14 days and seek testing immediately. The venue was able to provide contact tracing investigators with the details of everyone who had trained at the gym during the period of concern, Chant added.

Four more locations have been named as possible hotspots in Sydney, that were visited by recently confirmed cases. These include the YMCA in Revesby, where a case attended on July 9 and 11; the Western Suburbs Leagues Club, where a case attended on July 11 and 12; the Macarthur Tavern, where a case attended on July 11; and the Woolworths supermarket in Bowral, where a case attended on July 11. Anyone who visited these venues on the days in question should get tested immediately. Six other Sydney venues, as well as several locations in NSW's south, were named as potential hotspots on July 13.

Kerry Chant called on people across Sydney, especially in the city’s south west, to seek testing for even the mildest symptoms or if they had any concern or suspicion that they have come into contact with someone infected. Chant warned Sydneysiders not to be overly focused on the Casula cluster, saying that community transmission could be taking place elsewhere in the city unseen.

Details have also been shared on how contact tracing revealed the hotspots in South West Sydney. The identification of the Casula cluster was thanks to a single clinician in Liverpool who made the connection between two unassociated cases, tracing a shared contact at the Crossroads Hotel. Since this discovery, a barrage of sophisticated detective techniques have been used to find the source of the infection – sometimes referred to as "patient zero". This has been confirmed via genomic sequencing as a man who travelled to Sydney from Melbourne on June 30, where he attended a workplace before heading to a work party at the Crossroads Hotel. Six colleagues of the man have since tested positive.

As Sydney continues to battle the spread of the virus, it is more important than ever to follow health guidelines. Here's our breakdown of everything you need to know.

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