20 contacts of COVID victim identified
QUEENSLAND'S Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young have faced questions over the death of a 30-year-old Blackwater man from COVID-19 and how he could have caught the virus, after confirming no new cases in the state overnight.
In all, 20 close contacts of Blackwater man Nathan Turner have been identified, with 18 already testing negative.
The Deputy Premier said the last two were yet to be tested and 30-odd other tests undertaken in Blackwater yesterday had also returned negative.
Ninety-five people are set to be tested today as a third clinic opens for testing, he said.
There were no new cases overnight, with Queensland's total remaining at 1058.
There are six active cases. Four people are in hospital, one of them ventilated in intensive care.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Mr Turner's partner had tested negative, but it was possible her viral load was too low to pick up the virus.
"She's in isolation at the moment," Dr Young said.
"She had that initial test and she'll be having a subsequent test, because we know that early on in the illness, you may not have enough virus to be able to pick it up.
"So we will be doing further testing."
"But, of course, she'll be in quarantine for 14 days."
Dr Young said anyone who felt they may have any links to the Blackwater case and felt ill should be tested immediately and not wait to be contacted.
Dr Young said she could not rule out more community transmission, which is why it was "critically important" for people to get tested.
She said the significant fly-in, fly-out population was also being closely looked at as well.
Health authorities are still trying to work out how Mr Turner became infected with COVID-19 in the weeks before he died.
Nathan Turner - Australia's youngest coronavirus fatality - was found dead by his partner in their home at Blackwater, near Emerald.
Health authorities are working to determine how he contracted the virus, but have so far ruled out any connection with a Rockhampton aged care nurse who tested positive earlier this month.
The nurse travelled to Blackwater in the second week of May, before testing positive, but a Queensland Health spokesman said she did not interact with anyone there.
Mr Turner had a complicated medical history, had not worked since November and was not tested while alive because of the seriousness of his underlying condition.
While the coroner will investigate whether the virus or Mr Turner's other known illnesses caused his death, a Queensland Health spokesman said he had respiratory symptoms since the first week of May.
As well as not working for six months, he had not left Blackwater since February.
His partner is 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.
Authorities said a public health alert will be issued if contract tracing efforts identify any risk to the broader community.
But anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested immediately. Residents of Blackwater, which has a population of about 5000, responded to the appeal, with health authorities saying on Wednesday callers to the COVID-19 hotline were experiencing a wait time of up to 35 minutes.
A fever clinic will be opened at the Blackwater rodeo ground from 8am on Thursday.
A team of public health experts and additional contact tracing resources have also been deployed from Brisbane to Blackwater.
A total of 103 people have died from the coronavirus in Australia, with the latest victim becoming Queensland's seventh fatality.
Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in both states' counts.
"It's a timely reminder for all Queenslanders that this COVID is real, it's out there, and it has impacts on Queenslanders and in this case, we have lost another Queenslander today," Health Minister Steven Miles said on Wednesday. Queensland has just seven active cases remaining from a total of 1058.
Originally published as Questions over COVID-19 death as new cases to be revealed