Blackwater lines for covid testing. Picture: ABC
Blackwater lines for covid testing. Picture: ABC

Hopeful signs as Blackwater COVID-19 investigation continues

UPDATE 4PM: IN THE last hour, Health Minister Steven Miles has provided an encouraging update on Blackwater's COVID-19 investigation following the death of miner Nathan Turner on Tuesday

"We've nearly finished testing the man's close contacts, all the tests have come back negative so far but there are a few more tests to do which we'll do today," Mr Miles said. 

"The first responders are in isolation, thankfully with no symptoms.

"We saw a surge in testing in Blackwater yesterday and we've opened up a new fever clinic at the rodeo grounds this morning, so PLEASE get tested if you're unwell. So far all the Blackwater tests have come up negative."

Mr Miles said "the State's eyes are on Blackwater" following this week's tragedy. 

"What I'm asking you is don't wait for it to be your town with a confirmed case, get tested if you're sick, stay at home if you're unwell and please follow the social distancing rules. We'll get through this," he said. 

LNP Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said Labor has dropped the ball on coronavirus testing in Queensland following the discovery of the positive COVID-19 case in Blackwater.

"The tragic death of this young man shows there is undetected community transmission in Queensland," Ms Bates

"It's a bit rich for the Premier to point the finger at southern states over community transmission when she doesn't know what's happening in her own backyard.

"It erodes the Premier's entire argument about closing the border, which is closing businesses and costing jobs."

She said only two days ago the Premier said there was no community transmission in Queensland, but that's obviously not the case if they can't trace the source in Blackwater.

"Testing rates in Queensland are well behind New South Wales and Victoria and around 80,000 tests short of where we should be," she said. 

"The people of Blackwater should have been told the nurse had travelled to the area so they could get tested and take precautions.

"The Premier had said the area was COVID-free, even though the Labor government knew a nurse with COVID-19 had travelled there."

INITIAL: BLACKWATER'S new fever clinic is well underway with almost 200 patients already tested.

Twenty-two staff are on the ground at Blackwater Rodeo Grounds, made up of 10 clinicians, eight administration and four working in transformation.

Some staff made the trip from Rockhampton and Gladstone late last night with other staff from Emerald and Blackwater as well.

There are also three doctors going between two fever clinics and Blackwater Hospital's emergency department

As of 12.15pm, 194 patients had been tested.

Around 10 people were lined up at the gates at 8am when the clinic opened.

Fever clinic staff are urging people to make bookings.

Phone 4920 5800 to make an appointment, the line is open between 5am and 8pm.

The fever clinic will remain at Blackwater until at least Monday, to be reassessed next week.



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