(TANGIPAHOA PARISH, La.) — Louisiana officials are investigating a facility where nursing home residents were evacuated to after four residents died there ahead of Hurricane Ida.
The coroner determined three of the deaths to be storm-related, though the residents’ definitive causes of death have not been confirmed.
On Friday, Aug. 27, two days before Ida made landfall, the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) learned of the four deaths at an unnamed facility in the Tangipahoa Parish.
After the hurricane hit, LDH was alerted to “deteriorating conditions” at this facility and officials “promptly visited” the site Tuesday — but were “expelled from the property and prevented from conducting a full assessment.”
Nola.com reports the facility was a warehouse “with overflowing toilets and piled up trash.” Officials and workers at the facility told Nola.com residents were trapped in “inhumane conditions.”
“We have significant concerns about conditions in this facility,” LDH said in a statement.
Unless under a mandatory evacuation order, nursing homes make the decision of when and where to evacuate, LDH said. These facilities are required to provide safe conditions for their residents.
LDH is removing 834 residents from seven nursing homes across four parishes. The most vulnerable residents are being moved first, the department said. As of Friday morning, LDH said it had moved 721 residents.
Twelve of the residents rescued required hospitalization, the department said.
“This is a serious and active investigation. We will be taking action against these nursing facilities, and will be making appropriate referrals to law enforcement,” LDH said in a statement.
Residents from the following nursing homes were evacuated to the facility under investigation: River Palms Nursing and Rehab, Orleans Parish; Maison Orleans Healthcare Center, Orleans Parish; Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, Jefferson Parish; West Jefferson Health Care Center, Jefferson Parish; Maison DeVille Nursing Home of Harvey, Jefferson Parish; Maison DeVille Nursing Home, Terrebonne Parish; South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab, Lafourche Parish.
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