The Queensland man who was thought to have been Australia’s youngest ever person to die from coronavirus may not have had the disease at all.
Nathan Turner died last week in Blackwater, a town almost 200 km west of Rockhampton. Mr Turner had been housebound and not working due to a pre-existing health issue when he fell ill.
His body was found in his home by his fiance Simone Devon at about 4.30pm last Tuesday. He could not be revived and was declared deceased at the scene.
A day after his death, Queensland Health stated the 30 year old had died with COVID-19 in a case that baffled doctors given the state was recording very few new infections and no one else in the town had tested positive.
However, the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin has today reported that a coroner’s report delivered to Ms Devon has shown that he wasn’t in fact infected with coronavirus.
A Facebook post from the Fairbairn Bakery in Emerald, where Ms Devon works, said she had told them Mr Turner was negative.
“Now his loved ones can be left in peace and Nathan can finally RIP x,” the post said.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been directly impacted by this whole ordeal, and the little community of Blackwater can now breathe easy”.
News.com.au has contacted Queensland Health for comment. In a statement to The Australian, the health authority said it couldn’t comment as the coroner’s report had yet to be made public.
However, Lorraine Devon, the mother of Mr Turner’s fiance, said the coroner had confirmed the result.
“They have told us that there was no trace of the virus in his system. The autopsy has not been completed, and they can’t yet say how he died.”
If it is confirmed that Mr Turner did not die of COVID-19 it would bring Queensland’s deaths down to six and Australia’s to 102.
The case was of huge concern to health authorities as it could have shown that coronavirus was circulating within the community rather than within specific groups, such as travellers returning from overseas.
It was so baffling that sewage in the central Queensland town was to be sifted through to try and determine whether COVID-19 was present in the town of 5000.
Testing the sewage could reveal how many people in Blackwater may have been exposed or unknowingly have the virus if traces were detected in the waste.
The spotlight fell on a nurse at a Rockhampton nursing home who had continued to work despite having coronavirus symptoms and awaiting results. She was suspended from her role.
The nurse took a sightseeing road trip to Blackwater during lockdown, reportedly to “see a sunset” but insisted she hadn’t come into contact with the man.
Following Mr Turner’s death, 500 Blackwater locals were tested for coronavirus, including Ms Devon, and none came up positive.
A friend of Mr Turner told The Australian he was a “larrikin and always the life of the party”.
“He was a funny, kind person who always had time for his mates.”
Other friends flocked to his Facebook page to post tributes to the young miner.
One friend said he was “shocked” to hear the tragic news.
“You were a top bloke and always knew how to make your friends smile. Fly high buddy and thoughts to your loved ones,” they wrote.
Queensland Health has been contacted for comment.