Shock findings: Blackwater COVID backflip sparks anger
THE Queensland man thought to be the country's youngest coronavirus death did not have COVID-19 but authorities are still unsure how he died, autopsy results have revealed.
Thirty-year-old Blackwater man Nathan Turner was found dead in the home he shared with his fiancee Simone Devon last Wednesday.
Queensland Health announced Mr Turner, who suffered from complex underlying health conditions, had tested positive to COVID-19 after his death, sparking fears of the virus spreading in the Blackwater community.
Hundreds of locals were tested for the virus and authorities took steps to test the town's sewerage in an to attempt to trace the source of the infection and determine if it had spread.
But last night Queensland's Chief Health Office Dr Jeannette Young announced further testing had revealed Mr Turner did not have COVID-19.
"On May 27, a post-mortem test on a man from Blackwater returned positive for COVID-19 and his partner confirmed he had been unwell with flu-like symptoms for a number of weeks," Dr Young said.
"On that basis Queensland Health established a rapid public health response, including quarantining and testing close contacts, expanding COVID-19 testing in Blackwater and talking to the community, as it would expect us to do.
"The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19. He is yet to determine the man's cause of death."
The state's peak health authority had officially listed Mr Turner as a COVID-19 related death - the seventh in Queensland.
The backflip sparked outrage in the Blackwater community and across the state last night.
Almost 2000 people had signed a petition by 10pm calling for the Premier and Dr Young to issue a national apology and written letter to Mr Turner's family, his fiance and the Blackwater community.
"Your leadership created emotional, mental and physical trauma to the loved ones of Nathan's family and friends and especially to his fiance Simone who endured so much pain then (sic) anyone else," the petition says.
"Nathan's passing was used as tool to create chaos and panic to a community, state and a country.
"You should be ashamed of yourself and if you had any human decency left then you will apologise for creating trauma to this family whilst you caused panic to our community.
"A family had to silently grieve in pain as they watched a nation be lied too (sic) about Nathan's cause of death."
The initial positive test placed intense scrutiny on a COVID-positive Rockhampton nurse who had travelled to Blackwater in recent weeks.
It sparked enormous panic in the small community and local officials called for calm as hundreds of residents were tested for the virus and authorities scrambled to contact trace anyone who had been in touch with Mr Turner.
Mr Turner's fiance Ms Devon tested negative to the virus three times and more than 500 Blackwater residents also returned negative results.
Originally published as Shock findings: Blackwater COVID backflip sparks anger