Photo of Altovise Porter from Bells Funeral Services.

According to her obituary online:

Altovise Nishea Green Porter, affectionately known as VeCe and Shea, was born on June 24, 1979, in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

“Over the years, she has worked as a health care/technical support specialist and most recently, as a SNAD network administrator. Her love for health care, technology, and system navigator was exceptional!”

From various public articles and resources, including Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Altovise Porter died on April 8 at 2:37 PM in a friend’s home in Fort Lauderdale after contracting COVID-19, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Her younger brother Melvin Porter, spoke to the Times about his sister.

“She had two weeks of being very weak, loss of appetite,” he said. “She was so weak she could barely talk on the phone. … My older sister dropped her off some soup and that was Sunday. The following Wednesday she was dead.”

Florida Medical Examiner’s records show that her death was initially misclassified, as her first COVID-19 test result came back negative. This kept her off of DOH’s deaths list for weeks after her death until the results of a second COVID-19 test she had taken on April 4 came back positive.

By all accounts, Altovise knew she was sick and had strong suspicions it was COVID-19.

She first sought testing for COVID-19 on March 18, after she visited Broward General’s emergency rooms with symptoms consistent with Coronavirus.

She continued to get sicker, and went back to the hospital on April 4, where she was diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and advised to recover at home.

Still concerned, Altovise stopped by a drive-through COVID-19 testing site after being discharged. That test result came back positive on April 10 — two days after she died.

Had she not been so sure of herself and her symptoms, which as a healthcare technician she had heard plenty about by that time, her death would have never been included.

A review of DOH records shows that about 18-20% of those who die from causes related to COVID-19 test negative at least once before death.

That number is consistent with larger studies about the rate of false negatives.

Johns Hopkins University published a paper in June showing that COVID-19 PCB testing has a false negative rate of 67% before symptoms begin showing, 38% once symptomatic, and a startling 20% false negative rate three days after symptoms start.

Her case is also one that’s part of another upsetting trend – disparities in healthcare outcomes for both women and people of color, particularly among young women of color.

In Florida, the percent of non-white deaths for COVID cases under age 55 is 70%; the same rate for cases over 55 is only 32%.

Altovise knew what she was sick with. And on her third try, the test came back positive. Unfortunately the result was too late, and she was never given the level of care she needed or deserved.

She would have turned 41 last week.

It was clear from reading interviews with her family and friends that she was loved deeply and will be missed.