COVID-1, Blackwater, Rockhampton

Small town COVID-19 tragedy in Blackwater reminds business to remain alert

Australia’s youngest death due to Coronavirus in Blackwater, Central Queensland has put controlling the spread under the microscope once again.

Nathan Turner, a former miner from the town located 195km west of Rockhampton became Australia’s 103rd fatality from the virus and the seventh in Queensland. He was tested posthumously which came back positive, but he had not been tested while he was still alive.

It is understood he had a complex medical history, had not worked since November and a coroner’s report is pending which will determine the exact cause of death.

The ongoing investigation has also revealed that the Rockhampton nurse who sparked the lockdown of an aged care facility because she tested positive to COVID-19 had also recently travelled to Blackwater in a 400km round trip.

She may have breached Queensland health restrictions in place at the time of the trip.

“My advice via the Chief Health Officer is that the timing of that trip means it’s unlikely that she is the source of the infection, but it’s possible and so they’re continuing to work through that,” Queensland Health Minister Stephen Miles said.

The twin diagnoses have put a question mark on travel in rural and regional areas in Queensland and Australia.

What does this mean for workers in rural and regional areas?


The response to the death of Turner and the diagnosis of the Rockhampton nurse has been swift.

 The partner of Turner – who was also sick – has been tested, returning a negative result.

 A group of 20 of Turner’s friends and family members have also been tested. A special COVID-response team has been sent to Blackwater, three fever clinics have been established and widespread testing of the population of 4700 is well underway.

 Even the sewerage systems are being tested as a possible source of transmission.

 For businesses and workers in rural and regional Queensland, the death of Turner has raised plenty of alarms to go along with the grief.

SPR is your free tool to manage and protect your workforce


While COVID-19 restrictions have been easing in Queensland, businesses, companies and those in the mining, energy and resources sectors still have plenty of responsibilities to protect their workforce.

 That is especially the case for mobile workers who have to travel between sites as part of their job function.

 Site Pandemic Response (SPR) was devised and developed at the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic by Brisbane-based software company IONYX, Industry Capability Network (ICN) and QMI Solutions.

 This app is available for free to all small businesses (up to 50 licences) and not-for-profit organisations with heavily discounted rates for larger companies.

 It is a fully automated safety measure that sends health checks to all workers, contractors and visitors 24 hours before they access a job site.

 If they are showing any signs of cold and/or flu, flags are automatically raised and they can be denied access to the site and directed towards testing and quarantine measures.

 This eliminates manual processes, speeds up the process, allows your business to keep operating and protects all of your workers, customers and everyone with a touchpoint with your operations.

 SPR can also be used for mobile workers that need to travel to people’s homes and other premises, like health care service providers.

 They can send health surveys to their clients before entering the premises to ensure they are not being potentially exposed to the virus.

To get started with SPR and safely keep your operations running in regional and rural areas, click here.