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17 September 2017, 02:24 | Glen Norman
Probe opens into 8 deaths at Florida nursing home
Three of those who died were in their nineties, including 99-year-old Albertina Vega.
"The Hollywood Police Department has been granted a search warrant for this property", Raelin Storey, the city's public affairs director, said at a news conference outside the nursing home Thursday morning.
The deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, now under police and state investigation, stirred outrage over what many saw as a preventable tragedy and heightened concerns about the vulnerability of the state's large elderly population amid widespread, lingering power outages.
"Protecting the lives of Floridians is my top priority and that's why we have worked all week to help Floridians prepare and respond to Hurricane Irma", he said.
The storm's death toll grew to at least 33 people in Florida after a woman died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach Post newspaper reported.
WLRN says the Rehabilitation Center had a history of poor performance in state regulators' inspections.
State officials continued to survey the damage left from the powerful storm on Wednesday, with Gov. Rick Scott making stops in Clay County and the Florida Keys as the state recovers from the catastrophic storm.
"(We) quickly identified some issues inside the facility with fire rescue and immediately evacuated the building", Katz said. While some of the deficiencies appeared likely to affect few residents, the report indicates other more-serious deficiencies were found in areas such as food safety, disposal of garbage and infection-control programs. An office assistant was hunting for bottled water and ice for residents without running water. The Florida Health Care Association said in a prepared statement that it is in contact with utilities and state, local and federal officials to try to get power restored to every nursing home as soon as possible.
The account the nursing home executives provided to the Washington Post offers new details of the deteriorating conditions inside the facility.
He added that the patients who have been admitted to the hospital are mostly being treated for "respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues".
The Naples Municipal Airport also reported a gust of 142 miles per hour, near reports of 135mph gust and sustained winds of 93mph - the most powerful recorded gusts on the mainland. It's forcast to be 88 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday with a high humidity of 74 percent.
Authorities were also instructed to carry out precautionary checks on other long-term care facilities in the area in the wake of the incident.
City officials say three people were already dead inside, and others were pronounced dead later.
Elder care in disaster poses challenges even in the best circumstances, said Kathryn Hyer, a professor in the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, whose research shows that evacuations can be deadly for the medically frail who are dependant on equipment and medications.
But Johnson said she never thought her friend would die.
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