Ives Green, a 58-year-old runner, and award-winning Special Olympics athlete, became the first person in Louisiana to succumb to the coronavirus.
Green lived in a facility for people with developmental disabilities and reportedly had limited contact with people outside of the facility, according to Nola.com. So, he had no idea why he suddenly started feeling ill, his family told the news site.
His condition worsened quickly, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to grant Touro Infirmary medical staff in New Orleans permission to give Green a test for the coronavirus. He tested positive. On Saturday, he died from COVID-19, his family said in a statement.
Green was full of life and “had a lot more living to do,” his family told Nola.com in the statement.
Green didn’t comprehend COVID-19 nor did he realize he was fatally ill, his family said. Now, his relatives are pleading with others to take the disease seriously and listen to instructions from government leaders.
“People need to take this virus seriously and follow CDC guidelines,” Green’s family said in the statement.
New Orleans officials are telling residents to stay clear of large crowds and to avoid contact with people to improve their chances of not contracting the disease.
On Sunday, Green’s family reminisced about their loved one, telling the media outlet that he enjoyed fishing, listening to music, rooting for his beloved New Orleans Saints, donning Saints’ gear and yelling “touchdown” whenever they scored. He also liked New Orleans red beans and rice, gumbo, spaghetti and meatballs, and potato salad.
Also on Sunday, a second Louisiana resident, only identified as a 53-year-old from New Orleans, died from the disease, becoming the state’s second fatality from coronavirus. That person was also a patient at Touro, Nola.com reported.
By Sunday night, Louisiana had 104 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and the overwhelming majority came from the New Orleans area. Officials believe the number is actually much higher due to limited testing. A tiny fraction of the state’s 4.6 million residents —284 people— have currently been tested for COVID-19, according to Nola.com.