Nurse with COVID did not reveal trip to Malaysia
Hundreds of tests have been done in the Queensland town of Blackwater following Nathan Turner's death. Photo: Twitter
A nurse who might have spread coronavirus to a Queensland town did not tell investigators she’d recently been to Malaysia.
Authorities are investigating how a man in the small town of Blackwater became infected with COVID-19 before his death on Tuesday.
Nathan Turner, 30, had not left his central Queensland community since February. He is the youngest person in Australia to die from the virus.
Queensland reported no new coronavirus infections on Friday.
But anxiety in Blackwater, which has about 5000 residents, remains high. There are three fever clinics operating, and sewage will be tested to determine if there is any local transmission.
Gregory MP Lachlan Millar has appealed for calm after Mr Turner’s sudden death.
“There are a lot of people pointing fingers at the moment, but that isn’t the right way to go about it,” Mr Millar said.
Nathan Turner died on Tuesday. Photo: Facebook
Authorities are racing to trace the source of Mr Turner’s infection.
They include whether there are any links to an infected Rockhampton nurse who went on a sight-seeing road trip to Blackwater during the coronavirus lockdown.
Queensland Health has said the nurse made the trip in the second week of May, before she tested positive for coronavirus on May 14.
The next day, Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the woman had shown symptoms for the illness from May 5 and was believed to be infectious from May 3.
She continued to work at a state-run Rockhampton aged-care home while she had symptoms and was awaiting the test results.
New details have emerged about the nurse’s travel history, including an undisclosed trip to Kuala Lumpur in late March.
“She gave us one story and then, subsequent to that, we’ve found out additional information,” Dr Young said.
“We need to try to untangle and sort that through. That’s very, very important.”
A spokesman for the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, which is representing the woman, has told The Australian the nurse wasn’t required to offer up information about her Malaysia trip, and “it was irrelevant”.
“The only questions she was asked was about her movements before she was diagnosed,” the newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying.
The spokesman also gave different dates for the nurse’s visit to Blackwater.
He said she went there on April 11, before Mr Turner fell ill in early May.
The spokesman said the nurse had self-isolated for 14 days after returning from Kuala Lumpur.
“Our member finishes her self-isolation on April 10 and the next day she went to a lookout to see the sunrise, and then drove into Blackwater, took a picture, and left,” he told the newspaper.
A Queensland Health spokesman has not commented on the discrepancy in the dates.