Coronavirus death scares Blackwater residents
A BLACKWATER man's death and COVID-19 diagnosis last night has the town's older population concerned for its health.
Blackwater resident Helen Rix is in the over-70 high risk category and was shocked to hear the news.
"It's pretty scary," she said.
"Condolences to the family, it's terrible that it happened."
Mrs Rix said she was worried about her grandson, who started back at school this week.
"We thought we were pretty lucky living out here because we're away from everything," she said, "but it just makes you wonder."
Mrs Rix has only been leaving home for necessities, such as appointments and grocery shopping, but said she would be taking extra precautions from now on.
Seventy-year-old Danny Hall, owner of Blackwater Country Meats, was disappointed to hear the virus has made it to his town. Mr Hall's immune system is poor due to his having cancer.
Nevertheless, he said he couldn't imagine being anywhere else than in his shop.
"I have cancer and have no immune system, so I try and avoid people as much as possible," Mr Hall said.
"This shop is my baby. I have my good days and bad days, but nothing stops me from coming in.
"I just take it day by day, and the only thing we can do is keep on living."
A fever clinic will be erected at the Blackwater Rodeo Grounds tomorrow in response to the death. Testing is already available at the Emerald Medical Group on Pilot Farm Road.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said Blackwater and Queensland Health had his full support.
"This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not over, and I extend my sincere condolences to the friends and family of the young man who lost his life," he said.
"We're all in this together and if we keep following the protocols, we will stop a potential spread of COVID-19 in our region.
"That means people must continue what they have been doing to stay healthy - be vigilant about social distancing, stay at home if you're unwell, and get tested if you show symptoms or are concerned."
The council closed its Blackwater customer service centre and library today, until further notice.
At 30 years old, the man wa the youngest in Australia to die of the virus. He was said to be a miner and to have a complicated medical history.
He had not been to work since November, nor left Blackwater since February, having been home ill for several weeks.
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said the union would continue to work to keep miners safe.
"Any death from COVID-19 is a terrible loss and our thoughts go out [to] the family and friends," he said.
"This is a sad reminder that we can't afford to be complacent about the threat posed by COVID-19, and we all need to maintain our vigilance."
BMA confirmed he was not an employee or contractor at any of its sites.
Emergency services who attended the man's home, including three police officers, are now in quarantine, and Queensland Police told CQ News that the sudden closure of the Blackwater Police Station's counter area today was coincidental and unrelated to the coronavirus case.
Tuesday's death was the first confirmed instance of COVID-19 in Central Queensland. The state's toll sits at seven.