New Orleans resident Natasha Ott was tested for coronavirus Monday, nearly a week after she began exhibiting symptoms. Just days later, the 39-year-old was found dead inside her home—before she received her test results.
Ott's longtime partner Josh Anderson shared the tragic story, first reported by NOLA.com, via Facebook. Anderson said Ott, whom he described as a "woman in good health," had started feeling ill around March 10, stating she had slight fever and cold-like symptoms. Ott was a social worker for the HIV health center CrescentCare, which reportedly had five COVID-19 test kits at the time she began feeling sick. She declined to take one of the tests because she was deemed "low-risk"; however, she was sent home as a precautionary measure.
"She wrote me the following on March 11th: 'I tried to go to Ochsner [Medical Center] today to get a flu test and they told me it would be a week before I could see my PCP," Anderson wrote on Facebook. "I ended up getting [the flu test] at work. We only have 5 coronavirus tests at my clinic. I declined to take one so someone else could."
Anderson said the flu test Ott had taken came back negative, but her symptoms persisted throughout the rest of the week. On Sunday, Ott texted Anderson saying she would take a COVID-19 test at her work. The test was administered Monday, but was told that it could be up to five days before she received the results.
Anderson recalled the communication he had with Ott over the following days. She questioned why she was still feeling sick, and said she was convinced that her dog Zola was worried about her.
"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," Anderson wrote. "She sent her last message to me at 8:36am in response: 'A little better and hopeful. The herbs seems to be helping.' At 6 6:54pm I texted, with no-reply. 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.'"
Anderson said he knocked on Ott's door at around 8 that night, but did not receive an answer. He then went to the back of the house and entered through a rear door, where he discovered Ott dead in her kitchen.
"For those of you not fortunate enough to have known her — know this: It's an immeasurable loss," he continued. "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. Her Coronavirus test results have still not come back."
CrescentCare CEO Noel Twilbeck confirmed to NOLA.com that Ott was a former employee who had died. He declined to speak further on the matter out of respect for Ott's family.