Queensland Government Apologises to Family of ‘Virus’ Man

June 1, 2020 Updated: June 1, 2020

Queensland’s deputy premier has apologised to the grieving family of a Blackwater man who was wrongly identified as having COVID-19.

Stephen Miles says he’s sorry for the suffering of Nathan Turner’s family and his partner, who has had to grieve his death in isolation.

Turner initially tested positive for COVID-19 after his death last week, but subsequent tests have confirmed he was not infected.

Miles has defended the government’s response, saying it had to put Blackwater on alert and test widely after the former miner’s initial positive test.

But he said it was a regrettable outcome that the family had suffered unnecessarily, in light of “multiple” subsequent negative tests.

“Our ability to control this virus requires us to respond rapidly to every single positive test,” the deputy premier and health minister said on June 2.

“We have to treat ever positive test as though it is a positive case.

“However, I would like to personally apologise to his partner and his family for any distress that our actions in responding rapidly has caused them. I know it’s been incredibly distressing for them.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said false positive tests for coronavirus were extremely rare.

She said the results were compromised by the fact that one sample from Turner was contaminated with excessive blood from the post-mortem process.

“There are two potential answers here. One is that it was a false positive. The other is that it was a true positive,” Young said.

“And we won’t know which it was, but I am confident about the actions that were taken on that night to protect the community of Blackwater.”

Queensland recorded one new coronavirus case overnight involving a 41-year-old woman who arrived on a flight from Africa.

Young said she was infectious while she was on the plane and she and all other passengers were now in quarantine.

The state now has five active COVID-19 cases.

Tracey Ferrier