Nathan Turner's autopsy results came back negative for coronavirus following his death last week.
Nathan Turner's autopsy results came back negative for coronavirus following his death last week.

Town furious over COVID-19 mistake

BLACKWATER residents are "pissed off" and don't believe a State Government apology is enough, following a corona­virus misdiagnosis last week that tarnished a young man's passing and propagated fear through the small town.

Queensland Health this week revealed that the death of Blackwater man Nathan ­Turner was not coronavirus ­related, after the coroner advised further testing showed a negative result.

The announcement had the Blackwater community furious yesterday.

"We told you!" Blackwater resident Trevor Lang said.

Mr Lang said the news that Mr Turner, who health authorities last week said had tested positive for coronavirus, didn't have the virus when he died had ignited anger in Blackwater for "what they've put the bloody town through".

"It's been crazy, it's got (Blackwater) stirred up again now too … They're pissed off," he said.

The false positive result had forced Mr Turner's fiancee Simone Devon and her family into quarantine - and left them mourning in isolation without the comfort of friends.

Ms Devon's workplace, Fairbairn Bakery Blackwater, also shut its doors amid virus fears. Fairbairn Bakery owner Kelly Bunyoung called the past week a "horrendous time" and said the bakery had closed "voluntarily with no instructions from authorities".

Ms Bunyoung said that the bakery had been deep-sanitised, while all staff had been COVID-tested "to give ourselves, the community and the most vulnerable peace of mind."

She said that the bakery would reopen following news that Mr Turner had been cleared of the virus.

Nathan Turner.
Nathan Turner.

"We have chosen not to comment (until) now out of pure respect to our beautiful team member who has been (through) enough with the tragic loss of her fiance … Blackwater can now breathe easy," she said.

Mr Turner's case is the second false positive coronavirus the town has suffered, with a worker at BHP's Blackwater mine incorrectly testing positive for the virus in April due to a "laboratory error".

Blackwater residents, including Ms Devon, told The Courier-Mail last week that they refused to believe Mr Turner's initial diagnosis.

Ms Devon's family did not wish to comment yesterday.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles yesterday publicly apologised to Mr Turner's loved ones for the "incredibly distressing" situation.


Fairbairn Bakery in Blackwater has now reopened.
Fairbairn Bakery in Blackwater has now reopened.


"To them, I am so deeply sorry," he said.

"To have to grieve under these circumstances, under this level of scrutiny, in some cases in quarantine, has only compounded that tragedy and their grief."

But words aren't enough, residents say.



Originally published as Town furious over COVID-19 mistake