Rockhampton nurse with links to Blackwater under investigation

Authorities are trying to “untangle” a coronavirus-infected Queensland nurse’s story after it was revealed she had travelled overseas.

The suspended aged care worker is under investigation for going back to work while waiting for test results when she returned from Malaysia two months ago.

The new information only came to light two weeks after her Rockhampton case was revealed.

Now authorities are urging her to start telling the truth, as she is probed for possible links to the death of a 30-year-old man in Blackwater.

The woman said she drove the 400km from Rockhampton to “see a sunset” in the small town.

Queensland’s chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young said contact tracers were now trying to work out the exact movements of the nurse, who said she stopped in Blackwater but did not get out of her car.

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However, she says the nurse’s story had “changed so many times”.

“She gave us one story and then, subsequent to that, we’ve found out additional information,” she said.

“So we need to try and untangle and sort that through. That’s very, very important.

“I don’t have any of the specifics because the story has changed so many times – I think it is best that we wait for the investigation and we sort it out.”

The nurse was diagnosed with coronavirus on May 14, putting the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre where she worked as an enrolled nurse into lockdown.

Her drive to Blackwater breached Queensland’s travel restrictions and only emerged after news of Nathan Turner’s death this week.

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Officials also suspect she was infected during a trip to Brisbane to see an orthopaedic surgeon in late April-early May.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said it was “incredibly disappointing” that someone would lie to public health officials.

“When a public health officer contacts you, it is important you are honest, truthful and fulsome with what you tell them,” he said.

“There are literally lives at risk. We need you to tell the truth.”

With no new cases, the state’s total sits at 1058 with just six active.

Mr Turner’s partner has returned two negative tests, after finding him dead at home on Tuesday.

He had not left Blackwater for three months and had not been at work since November.

Testing is now under way to see if the strain Mr Turner had was the same as the nurse’s.

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