Queensland authorities are investigating whether there is any link between an infected nurse’s trip to the town of Blackwater and the death of a miner there.
Nathan Turner, 30, is the youngest person in Australia to die with coronavirus. He was found dead at his home by his partner on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Turner had not left Blackwater in the Central Highlands since February. Testing clinics have been set up to determine if there is local transmission of the virus.
Queensland has recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight.
Health Minister Stephen Miles has not ruled out a link between Mr Turner’s death and the Rockhampton aged care nurse who went to Blackwater for a sunset outing.
She was infectious at the time but had not yet returned a positive test.
The same nurse sparked the lockdown of a Rockhampton aged care centre earlier this month after she continued to go to work while sick and before she got the results of a coronavirus test.
Mr Miles did not say exactly when the nurse made her 400km round trip to Blackwater.
“I understand there’s been widespread reporting that she did take a trip to Blackwater,” he said.
“My advice via the Chief Health Officer is that the timing of that trip means it’s unlikely that she is the source of the infection, but it’s possible and so they’re continuing to work through that.”
The nurse may have breached coronavirus health directives in place at the time she went to Blackwater.
A coroner will determine the cause of Mr Turner’s death. He had a complicated medical history and had not worked since November.
He was not tested for coronavirus while he was alive because of the seriousness of his underlying condition.
A Queensland Health spokesman said he had respiratory symptoms since the first week of May.
Authorities have identified 20 close contacts of Mr Turner.
Mr Miles said 18 of those tested yesterday had since returned negative tests, with results for two more still to be returned.
Mr Turner’s partner is also sick, but an initial test for coronavirus was negative. Results from a second test are expected today.
A team of public health experts is in Blackwater to help manage the situation and all of Mr Turner’s contacts are being traced.
Mr Turner had a complicated medical history and was not tested before he died, because of the seriousness of his underlying condition.
Mr Turner’s partner found him unresponsive when she returned to their home after work on Tuesday afternoon.
While the coroner will investigate whether the virus or Mr Turner’s other known illnesses caused his death, a Queensland Health spokesman said the man had respiratory symptoms since the first week of May.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said he was showing symptoms for several weeks and tested positive after his death.
His partner is now sick and in isolation but has not been admitted to hospital.
The police and ambulance officers who attended the scene are also now in quarantine.
A total of 103 people have died from the coronavirus in Australia, with the Mr Turner becoming Queensland’s seventh fatality.
Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in both states’ counts.
– Reported with AAP
© AAP 2020