Late Queensland miner’s COVID-19 test deemed negative

The passing of a 30-year-old miner in the Queensland mining town of Blackwater has been found to be unrelated to COVID-19.

The miner, who passed away on May 26, had tested positive for the virus in a post-mortem test conducted the next day.

This week however, Queensland Health authorities said further testing had revealed a negative result.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stated that the man suffered from other pre-existing health conditions.

The incident led to a series of measures by town authorities to identify how the young victim had contracted the virus, particularly since he had not worked for six months or left the mining town.

Hundreds of Blackwater locals were tested and Queensland Health even had the town’s sewage tested to try and determine the source of his COVID-19 infection.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said the response was a necessary precaution.

“On May 27, a post-mortem test on a man from Blackwater returned positive for COVID-19 and his partner confirmed he had been unwell with flu-like symptoms for a number of weeks,” she said.

“On that basis Queensland Health established a rapid public health response, including quarantining and testing close contacts, expanding COVID-19 testing in Blackwater and talking to the community, as it would expect us to do.

“The coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.”

The testing misstep has been acknowledged by Palaszczuk, who has since apologised to the man’s family.

“You know I really want to say to the family that we’re incredibly sorry that that has happened,” she said.

“To the family I know that is still grieving and I don’t want them to be stressed anymore, I know it is a very tough time for them but we do know that the coroner made that finding yesterday and we accept that finding.”

Australia’s previous mining-linked COVID-19 case, which involved a BHP Mitsubishi Alliance worker, was also confirmed to receive a negative result after testing positive for the virus.

The cause of the man’s death remains unconfirmed.