Seven Louisiana nursing homes were closed for evacuating patients to a warehouse before Hurricane Ida – .

Seven Louisiana nursing homes were closed for evacuating patients to a warehouse before Hurricane Ida – .

Seven nursing homes in Louisiana were ordered to close immediately on Saturday because their patients were evacuated to a single warehouse before Hurricane Ida, the Louisiana Department of Health said.

Seven patients have died since the move, and five of the deaths have been classified as storm-related deaths, the health department said in a statement.

Department staff visited the warehouse on Monday and Tuesday and “observed conditions which have caused great concern to the state health worker who they believe may reasonably pose a danger to life, health. and public safety, ”according to a separate state ordinance prohibiting the return of residents to the seven facilities.

NBC affiliate WDSU in New Orleans reported that a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health said generators were down and patients were on mattresses on the floor with no food or clean clothes. , and with the smell of human waste filling the air as the warehouse was flooded with stormwater.

The spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

State inspectors who visited the warehouse in Independence City “were kicked off the property” and “were intimidated by the owner of the seven health facilities” , said the health department.

A company associated with retirement homes, most of which are in the New Orleans metro area, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday night.

The state health department said it moved the 843 patients from the warehouse on Wednesday to other facilities or special needs shelters.

“The disrespect for the well-being of these vulnerable residents is an affront to human dignity,” Louisiana health official Dr. Joseph Kanter said in the statement. “We have lost confidence in these nursing homes to provide adequate care to their residents. We are taking immediate action today to protect public health. “

Secretary of State for Health Dr Courtney N. Phillips warned: “There is more to come.

AARP Louisiana Director Denise Bottcher said in a statement Friday that the organization is calling for state and federal investigations “into the storage of vulnerable and medically fragile adults and seniors during Hurricane Ida.” .

“Nursing homes have a duty to care for their residents, which includes planning for emergencies and evacuations,” she said. “These tragic deaths are the result of a complete failure of monitoring, enforcement and planning dating back over a decade. “

Governor John Bel Edwards has promised an investigation that will include whether there was an intentional effort to obstruct the warehouse inspection.

Ida struck near Port Fourchon, La. On Aug. 29 as a Category 4 hurricane. Nursing homes evacuated residents to the warehouse two days before Ida made landfall, said the health department.

The state was left in tatters, with 12 deaths in Louisiana attributed to the storm. As of Saturday night, 644,648 utility customers in Louisiana were left without power.


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