‘Low risk’ woman, 39, dies waiting for results
Natasha Ott, from New Orleans, USA, died on Saturday night after coming down with coronavirus symptoms.
She was only 39 years old and had been deemed low risk by her employer, Crescent Care, a medical clinic in New Orleans.
Her long-term partner John Anderson found her dead in her kitchen on Saturday, not long after she told him she "felt something in (her) lungs".
Mr Anderson is devastated by her unexpected death and has a warning for those not taking the virus seriously.
The time for joking about COVID-19 is over," he said on a Facebook post.
"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."
He went on to explain that no one was too worried about Ms Ott's flu-like symptoms, herself included.
Ms Ott told him she was feeling a bit sick: "Like a respiratory cold. Tiny fever."
A social worker, Ms Ott was sent home when she started feeling sick but didn't think it was serious enough to be tested.
In the heartbreaking Facebook post, Mr Anderson revealed her slow decline that ended in her death.
"We only have 5 coronavirus tests at my clinic. I declined to take one so someone else could," Ms Ott was reported to have said.
"This organisation that provides healthcare to the highest of high-risk populations had 5!" Mr Anderson said.
On Friday March 13 she wrote: "Hey, they don't think I need to get tested unless I develop a fever. All looks well."
Two days later she admitted she wasn't "feeling so hot".
"I'm probably fine," she told Mr Anderson. "I just tried to drink some medicinal whiskey and feel unwell. I'm OK. I love you."
A day later he offered to bring her some pho, and she wrote: "Nothing, thank you. I'm OK. I don't have an appetite."
The same day she was tested for coronavirus and was told it could take up to five days to get the results.
What followed was days of Ms Ott's condition worsening, while Mr Anderson could do nothing but watch from the sidelines.
She texted: "I don't want to be sick anymore" and "I just don't understand why I don't feel much better yet."
"We made plans to watch a movie together Friday evening (remotely) round 8," Mr Anderson said.
"On Friday March 19th she wrote: 'Good morning! I love you'.
"To my lasting shame, I replied: 'Morning, sunshine. How you feeling?'
"I very much wish I'd said 'I love you' back."
Mr Anderson revealed Ms Ott sent her last message to him at 8.36am on Saturday morning.
"At 6.54pm I texted, with no reply," Mr Anderson said.
"I called twice, with no reply.
"I wrote: 'I'm getting nervous. Just called twice. Text or call me soon. If I don't hear from you within the hour I'm coming over there to check on you'."
He arrived at her house around 8pm.
"No one answered the door. 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."
Mr Anderson regrets that he didn't do more and outlined "what I wish I'd done differently".
"I'm seeing tons of news stories that say you should stay home if you have 'minor' symptoms. But I haven't seen anyone delineate what a 'minor' symptom is," he said.
"Tasha was a stoic soul, and her tone of voice and joking demeanour made everything sound like not so big a deal.
"But she told me on Thursday evening that she felt like 'something' was in her lungs.
"Shallow breathing is not a minor symptom.
"Feeling like there's lung congestion or fluid in your lungs is not a minor symptom.
"If you or a loved one feel like there's fluid or congestion in their lungs or is experiencing shallow breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
"Don't wait on a test status, don't wait to see if things will feel better tomorrow."
Mr Anderson had one final message: "Cherish your loved ones like you could lose them, and let them know you cherish them," he wrote.