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Woman, 39, Dies Waiting for Coronavirus Test Result

Natasha Ott took a test Monday when her symptoms wouldn't go away
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2020 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Natasha Ott was planning to watch Netflix with her boyfriend Friday night. Instead, he found her dead on the floor. The 39-year-old was suffering from possible COVID-19 symptoms at the time and still awaiting her coronavirus test results, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. "For those of you not fortunate enough to have known her, know this: it’s an immeasurable loss," her boyfriend, Josh Anderson, writes on Facebook. "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." Ott's harrowing tale began March 10 when she came down with seeming cold symptoms and rejected a coronavirus test at the medical clinic where she worked in New Orleans.

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"She could have gotten a test last Friday, but they only had five tests, and she didn’t want to use one of them," says Anderson. Ott finally took the test Monday when her symptoms (low appetite, fever, respiratory cold) persisted, but she felt strong enough to go for a walk three days later. A relative says she was in overall "decent health" excepting a bout of giardia, an intestinal infection, she picked up in Togo while working for the Peace Corps. Ott's results are still pending, but her death highlights the lack of available coronavirus tests—and the pain of loved ones who lose someone during the pandemic, per KNOE. "The time for joking about Covid-19 is over," says Anderson. "Now is the time to keep yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else safe." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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