Fifty-eight-year-old Ives Green lived at a facility serving people with developmental disabilities in Louisiana. When Green’s health continued to deteriorate, the medical staff at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans got permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to test him for the coronavirus.
The test came back positive. On March 14, Green became the first person in Louisiana to die from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, his family said in a statement.
Green’s family said they are heartbroken but want people to take the virus seriously.
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“Ives had a lot more living to do,” his family said in a statement. “People need to take this virus seriously and follow CDC guidelines.”
Green had been a gifted runner and award-winning Special Olympics athlete. He loved fishing, listening to music, and the New Orleans Saints.
Green’s family said he had no comprehension of COVID-19 and did not know he was fatally ill, NOLA reported. But now that the disease’s dangers are better known, his relatives want the public to heed government leaders’ warnings on how to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
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A second COVID-19 patient at the Touro Infirmary, who has been only identified as a 53-year-old New Orleans resident, died March 15, bringing the state’s death toll to two at that point.
So far Louisiana had 104 confirmed cases, nearly all of which were in the metro New Orleans area with 284 people in the state of about 4.6 million who have been tested for COVID-19.
Green’s family wanted to make sure he wasn’t made anonymous as so many other COVID-19 victims have been. His niece, Alva Green-McDowell, shared Ives’ photo to make him more than a “news story without a face.”
“He was my uncle and I loved him dearly,” Green-McDowell said. “You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful soul.”