A "funny and loving" 39-year-old woman in good health has died while waiting for her coronavirus test results to come back.
Natasha Ott told her partner Josh Anderson the day before her death that she felt "something in her lungs".
On Friday March 20, Anderson found her dead in her kitchen.
Natasha first felt ill two weeks previously but didn't take a test for the new strain of coronavirus after she was told she was low-risk.
When her symptoms persisted and she developed a slight fever, she took the test the following week.
Tragically, she had refused a test so that someone else could have it and then had to wait to get one done.
In an emotional plea over Facebook, he wrote: "The time for joking about COVID-19 is over.
"Now is the time to keep yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else safe.
"And I'm devastated to say that now is also the time to mourn.
"Natasha was a profoundly kind, passionate, funny and loving 39-year-old woman in good health."
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The 40-year-old spoke to the New Orleans Advocate, saying what happened to his girlfriend should be a wake-up call for those who are not taking COVID-19 seriously.
"She could have gotten a test last Friday, but they only had five tests, and she didn’t want to use one of them," he said.
"I believed that people should stay home, but I don’t think I fully understood what the consequences could be if they didn’t."
When Natasha first began to feel sick, Anderson said her work sent her home "but didn't test her" because "she was told she was low-risk".
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Anderson said his partner tried to get a flu test but was told it would be a week before she could see her PCP.
She opted to take the test from her work but was shocked to find they only had five coronavirus tests at her clinic.
"I declined to take one so someone else could," she told Anderson.
He then recalled a message thread between the pair in the week before she passed away.
"On Friday March 13 she wrote: 'Hey, they don't think I need to get tested unless I develop a fever. All looks well.'
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"On Sunday March 15 she wrote: 'Hey, I'm not feeling so hot still. I may be testing at work tomorrow. I'm probably fine. I just tried to drink some medicinal whiskey and feel unwell. I'm ok. I love you.'
"On Monday March 16 I asked her if I could bring her some Pho, and she wrote: 'Nothing, thank you. I'm ok. I don't have an appetite.'
"She did get tested for Coronavirus that day, and was told it would take up to five days to see results.
"On Tuesday March 17 I asked 'How you feelin?' and she replied: 'Ok :)'
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On Wednesday March 18 she wrote: 'I don't want to be sick anymore' and 'I just don't understand why I don't feel much better yet.''
On Thursday, the couple walked Natasha's dog Zola and Anderson recalled she complained that she felt like 'something' was in her lungs.
On the Friday, the day she died, Anderson said he hadn't heard anything and went to her house around 8am that morning.
"No one answered the door," he recalled.
"I walked to the back of the house and noticed the rear door that opened into her fenced yard was open.
"I went in the back, and found her dead in her kitchen.
"For those of you not fortunate enough to have known her – know this: it's an immeasurable loss. And seeing a woman I knew to be so full of life lying on the floor lifeless was devastating.
"I was afraid to touch her. I held her anyway."
Anderson ended the post on an ominous note, saying: "Know these things, friends: Our government is ill-prepared for this pandemic in a way that has and will cost lives.
"Cherish your loved ones like you could lose them, and let them know you cherish them."
Natasha's Coronavirus test results have still not come back.
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