A nursing home spokesperson said that a number of its residents had been having respiratory issues.
Elderly residents were evacuated Wednesday morning from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills which lost power during the storm.
The overall death toll from the storm climbed to 81 on Wednesday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the USA mainland this year. The Center immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and continued to follow up with them for status updates on when repairs would be made.
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Before the hurricane smashed into the USA mainland over the weekend, it struck northern Caribbean islands, leaving at least 44 people dead, authorities said. "Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted", FEMA administrator Brock Long said.
The lowest average temperature in Hollywood this week has been around 79F. The facility reportedly has a backup generator, so utility-supplied power shouldn't have been a consideration.
"I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place", Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement. Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three died at the facility, while two others died after they were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital. However, the nursing home itself does have power.
Police launched a full investigation into the incident, with initial findings discovering the nursing home was without sufficient air conditioning and was using portable A/C units to keep the facility cool. As a precautionary measure, police are checking the other 42 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the city of Hollywood, Sanchez said. The association added that it is working with state officials to identify homes without power so that utility companies could prioritize those in greatest need.