Fears of new virus cluster as it's revealed victim held a party days before dying

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

The youngest Australian to die with coronavirus held a party in his home days before his death.

Nathan Turner, 30, died on Tuesday and was found unresponsive by his wife-to-be at their home in Blackwater, 200km west of the Central Queensland town of Rockhampton.

His death came days after he and his partner Simone Devon held a party at their residence on Friday night despite Mr Turner showing symptoms for several weeks, 7News reported.

About a dozen people who attended have since been tested as a COVID-19 response team from Brisbane looks to get on top of another potential cluster.

Nathan Turner and Simone Devon held a party at their home on Friday. Source: Facebook/ 7News

About 20 people from the town of roughly 5000 were identified as close contacts to Mr Turner, with 18 returning negative results after being tested.

The two further results are expected on Friday.

Ms Devon has tested negative and is isolating at home and will be tested again. Mr Turner only tested positive during a post-mortem examination.

Three testing sites have been set up in the town with Queensland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeannette Young calling on people to come forward and get tested, with concerns over the large amount of fly-in fly-out workers residing there.

Over 220 Blackwater residents have been tested so far.

With the source of the 30-year-old’s infection unknown, authorities are scrambling to determine if there is community transmission in the coal-mining town.

Mr Turner became infected despite not having left his hometown since February.

Over 120 residents have been tested so far. Source: Nine News

He also had not worked since November because of an underlying medical condition. He was understood to be suffering from seizures and on workers compensation.

Family also say he had asthma and regularly suffered from flu, 7News reported.

‘Finger pointing’ rife over virus mystery

Authorities are trying to work out if there is any link between the miner and the Rockhampton nurse who was previously heavily criticised by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after the health worker continued to work in a nursing home despite showing symptoms and later tested positive for coronavirus.

It has since been revealed the nurse drove to Blackwater to watch the sunset while travel restrictions were in place.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the trip was “a bit curious” and while Mr Turner’s symptoms began to show prior to her visit, authorities still say there is a possibility the cases are linked.

Queensland MP Lachlan Millar revealed anxiety levels are high in the town and has appealed for calm.

"There are a lot of people pointing fingers at the moment, but that isn't the right way to go about it," he told AAP.

Residents told the Courier Mail a sense of panic had set in and around the town, with the local Woolworths supermarket busier than usual and products such as hand sanitisers and flour selling quickly.

Tributes were paid to “larger-than-life” Mr Turner on Thursday, with residents in the town lighting candles on their driveways in the evening.

Ms Devon’s mother told The Courier Mail the two families have been “overwhelmed” by the community support.

“We are very grateful... we never expected this.”

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