6 nursing home residents die in Florida

A lake is hit by Hurricane Irma in Pembroke Pines Florida

He said Broward County did not list the facility as critical infrastructure - the places where restoring power is a top priority after a storm - in a hurricane planning meeting earlier this year.

The issue burst to the forefront again Wednesday with news of eight deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Florida, where workers say Hurricane Irma caused the air conditioning to fail, and they struggled to keep residents cool with fans, cold towels and ice.

Police have sealed the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as part of their investigation.

Of Florida's 309 hospitals, ten remain closed after Hurricane Irma.

Florida Health Care Association spokesperson Kristen Knapp said 168 nursing homes in the state lost power from the storm and were using backup generators to provide electricity to the facilities. "As a precautionary measure, we've assigned police officers to go check all the other 42 assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the city to make sure they're in sufficient care of the elderly". They have opened up a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Neighbors said this was a family of five, including three minors. Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said that call came in at either 4 a.m. or 6:25 a.m., but the hospital started moving patients at 7:15 a.m.

The death toll from Irma climbed to at least 23 late Tuesday night, namely, at least 16 in Florida, at least three in Georgia and at least four in SC, according to an ABC News report.

Local authorities reported that the devastating tropical storm broke the fuse that maintained the air-conditioning units at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. "Communication is lacking in many portions of Monroe County". Three people were found deceased at the site and three more died later, the police said.

One of the issues facing the nursing homes was ensuring they have enough fuel on hand to power their generators on a continuous basis, she noted.

According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 90 percent of homes in the Florida Keys suffered some damage.

It said that the center had failed to provide daily living activities, leaving one woman in her nightgown facing a television that had not been turned on and in a room with the curtains drawn and the lights out.

"We need to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep our seniors safe during this hard time", he said.

Officials warn it could take upward of 10 days for power to be fully restored.

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