News Coronavirus Source of infection for Australia’s youngest virus fatality a mystery

Source of infection for Australia’s youngest virus fatality a mystery

coronavirus blackwater toll qld
Queensland authorities are trying to trace the source of the dead man's COVID-19 infection. Photo: Getty
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Updated 9.17pm

A 30-year-old Queensland man found dead by his partner in their Blackwater home is Australia’s latest and youngest coronavirus fatality.

The partner of Nathan Turner was in isolation in Rockhampton Hospital on Wednesday after also developing COVID-19 symptoms.

The couple’s infections are the first cases in the central Queensland mining town, and health authorities are investigating how they might have caught the deadly virus.

Neither is thought to have left Blackwater since at least February.

Among the possible sources of infection are the aged-care nurse who tested positive in Rockhampton earlier in May but continued to work while showing symptoms.

The nurse has been suspended.

Blackwater is about 200 kilometres west of Rockhampton.

A Queensland Health spokesman said there was no information that warranted a public health alert for Blackwater.

“If our contact tracing efforts identify any risk to the broader community or we don’t believe we can identify potential contacts, we issue a public health alert,” the spokesman told AAP.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said the 30-year-old mine worker had shown coronavirus symptoms for several weeks.

He had a complicated medical history and had not worked since November. He was not tested while alive because of the seriousness of his underlying condition.

Paramedics were called to the couple’s home on Tuesday afternoon, when Mr Turner’s partner returned home and found him unresponsive.

He was dead when they arrived, and later returned a positive test for COVID-19.

The coroner will investigate whether the virus or his other known illnesses caused his death.

Blackwater locals with flu-like symptoms are being urged to get tested immediately. The police and ambulance officers who attended the scene are also in quarantine.

“It appears that this just gentleman who has passed away was ill for some time and did not get tested,” Health Minister Steven Miles said on Wednesday.

A team of public health experts and additional contact tracing resources have been sent from Brisbane to Blackwater to track the possible source of the virus.

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 state’s 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,” Dr Miles said.

Queensland has just seven active cases remaining from a total of 1058.

Elsewhere, NSW reported two new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Both were in students from schools in Sydney’s east that emerged on Tuesday.

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A staff member leaves Moriah College, where a student has been confirmed with coronavirus. Photo: Getty

Victorians ‘continue to work from home’

Victoria had eight new confirmed infections, including two in staff members at Lynden Aged Care in Camberwell, in Melbourne’s east.

The aged-care home has been in lockdown since May 19.

One of the other infections is in a staff member from a Melbourne hotel – the Rydges on Swanston – where overseas travellers are in quarantine.

Premier Daniel Andrews reiterated that Victorians should continue to work from home until at least July.

“If you have been working from home, you must continue to work from home for all of June,” he said.

“A this stage, the chief health officer is particularly concerned about hundreds of thousands of Victorians returning to office blocks.

“Logic tells you if that many people are crammed in on public transport, sharing spaces, then all that will do is pose an unacceptable risk and transmit the virus, no one wants that.

“We are beating this but it’s not over yet.”

SA Premier defends border exemption

The South Australian Premier has defended the decision to allow a woman – since confirmed to have coronavirus – into the state for compassionate reasons, saying “we’ve got to have a heart”.

Steven Marshall said the woman, in her 50s, was not the first interstate traveller authorised to enter SA on such grounds.

Exemptions had been granted to more than 20 people, he said.

“We’ve got to have a heart so there are some circumstances for compassionate reasons that we’ve (allowed) people to come to SA and that’s still the right way to go,” the Premier said.

“It is a controlled arrangement. There was a process put in place which is being followed.

“She is in quarantine and is not coming into contact with the people of SA so I say the system has worked well.”