Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Six dead after Irma knocks out air conditioning at Florida nursing home

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Melody Ballard | 17 September, 2017, 01:08

Eight patients at a sweltering Hollywood nursing home died in Hurricane Irma's aftermath, authorities said yesterday, as people confronted a multitude of new hazards in the storm's wake, including tree-clearing accidents and lethal fumes from generators.

Mayor Barbara Sharief was quoted by WSVN TV as saying that three people died at the nursing home in Hollywood, north of Miami, and two more after they were taken to a hospital.

Police evacuated 115 residents on Wednesday from the facility, whose air conditioning was cut by the storm.

Katz said most of the patients admitted to the hospital have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues.

Some already had evacuated, she said, in some cases going to neighboring states that hadn't suffered Irma's widespread heavy winds.

In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25 percent of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged.

Residents at an assisted living facility in suburban Fort Lauderdale who have been without power since Hurricane Irma are being moved to two facilities across the street that have electricity.

Sanchez said officers have been assigned to check 42 assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Hollywood to "make sure they are in sufficient care of the elderly".

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Even in the face of a storm that shrouded almost the entire state and had officials still piecing together its destruction, the news Wednesday from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills stood out, with victims as old as 99 among the dead and worries the count could grow.

Later Wednesday, officials in North Miami Beach evacuated 84 patients at Krystal Bay Nursing & Rehabilitation Center after one of the generators there failed.

Four more patients died at or en route to hospital and a fifth was later identified as having died the night before, officials said.

The incident raised fears about the safety of Florida's 4 million senior citizens amid power outages that could last for days. Some were in critical condition and taken to area hospitals.

Trump was traveling to Naples and Fort Myers on Florida's southwestern coast to meet with those affected by the hurricane and learn more about relief efforts.

Hollywood, Fla., police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the five deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related.

Nursing homes in Florida are required by law to file an emergency plan that includes evacuation plans for residents. "Our hearts go out to the families", she said.

Total insured losses from the storm are expected to run about $25 billion, including $18 billion in the United States and $7 billion in the Caribbean, catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Company estimated on Wednesday. At least six people in Florida died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. About 110,000 people remained in shelters across the state.

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