The union representing the Rockhampton nurse at the centre of a COVID-19 investigation has spoken out in her defence.
The Nurses Professional Association of Queensland says the nurse is “absolutely distraught” by criticism over her trip to Blackwater.
A 30 year-old miner living in the town died this week as a result of complications associated with the virus.
However, the NPAQ insists it is impossible the nurse is responsible for his illness because she never came into contact with him, and was not infectious at the time of her visit to the town.
NPAQ defends Rockhampton nurse
NPAQ spokesperson Jack McGuire is adamant the woman did not come in contact with Nathan Turner, who died in his home on Tuesday.
“She was in Kuala Lumpur throughout March. She is back by the end of March and then puts herself into 14 days self-isolation quarantine, as was required at that point.
“And she did that in her own home in Rockhampton. She has flown back home through Sydney. They had not brought in the enforced quarantine at that point.
“She ends up in Rockhampton by the end of March in isolation with just a colleague [to] bring her meals.”
Nurse tests positive a month after trip
The NPAQ says the nurse tested positive for COVID-19 a month after her road trip to Blackwater.
Furthermore, Mr McGuire confirmed the nurse finished her isolation on April 10, and drove to Blackwater on April 11 to see the sunrise.
She was not infectious at the time and therefore has no link to Turner’s illness.
“It is an impossibility that she is connected … It defies logic and common sense. The lookout was not far from Blackwater.
“She went to the lookout and because Blackwater was just up the road and there was a job posting there that she was going to apply for, she drove down to Blackwater, took a photo and came home. That was the extent of it.”
Trip to Brisbane
Mr McGuire says the nurse travelled to Brisbane to see a specialist about WorkCover and could have been infected then.
He said the nurse is distraught authorities are linking her positive COVID-19 test to the death of Turner.
- March 2020: Holiday in Kuala Lumpur
- End of March to April 10: Self-isolation in her home in Rockhampton
- 11 April: Drives to Blackwater lookout
- 13 April: Goes back to work at North Rockhampton Nursing Centre
- 29 April: Goes to Brisbane for an independent medical investigation for a back injury
- 7 May: Receives flu vaccination
- 9-10 May: Begins to feel unwell with flu-like symptoms
- 11 May: Goes to GP and requests swab for COVID-19
- 12 May: Swabbed for COVID-19
- 14 May: Test result positive test for COVID-19
Queensland Health confirms no evidence of link
Queensland Health says Turner began experiencing respiratory distress “since the first week of May”.
The department says the time frames for his developing symptoms and the Rockhampton nurse’s visit to the town do not match.
“At this time, no evidence has been provided to Queensland Health that links the two cases.
“But we will continue to assess all information relevant to any case.”