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Nathan Turner's father backs health response, tells of 'unbelievable loss'


Rodney Turner says he understands Queensland Health did what it had to in revealing his son’s initial positive test to COVID-19, but says the public spotlight has made things worse for his family.

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The father of a man who died in the Central Queensland town of Blackwater last week has backed Queensland Health’s response to his son initially testing positive to COVID-19.

Rodney Turner issued a statement on social media last night, saying media scrutiny on his son Nathan Turner’s death had made his loss even harder to take and that the family now wanted to be left alone.

“I completely understand the reaction of Queensland Health to this situation,” Turner said in his statement.

“As a matter of public interest they had to take precautionary action based on the evidence they had before them.

“I understand that the potential risk of a communicable disease required immediate action from Queensland Health and the public needed to be informed.

“What I don’t understand is how a false positive came about in the first place.”

Nathan Turner, 30, was found dead in his Blackwater home by his partner Simone Devon early last week.

He initially tested positive for COVID-19, triggering a rapid response in the central Queensland mining town.

Yesterday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk apologised to Turner’s family after it was revealed further testing confirmed Nathan did not have coronavirus just before he died.

Rodney Turner said the media had shown a “callous disregard” for his family in the week after his son’s death.

He said the family still did not know how or why Nathan died.

“Nathan’s autopsy report has not been released,” Turner said.

“We do not have a cause of death and have been told by the coroner’s office that due to his complicated medical history and the volume of tests being carried out, this may take quite some time to be finalised.”

Turner said the coroner’s office “did contact ourselves and Simone personally … they can tell us that they have not found any evidence that Nathan died from or with COVID-19”.

“For a week we have sat on the sidelines silently grieving our unbelievable loss, while the media has had an absolute field day,” Mr Turner said.

He criticised news media and what he called social media “experts” for the way they had treated Devon and her family.

Turner said rumours his son had died of cancer are untrue and that he was not on WorkCover when he died, despite being involved in a workplace accident in November last year.

He said his family now wanted to be left alone to grieve out of the spotlight.

“We are not looking for public sympathy; just to set the record straight,” he said.

“This is no longer a story of public concern. It is now time to leave Nathan’s fiancee, his family and friends, alone to grieve in private.”

– ABC / Jemima Burt

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