Hurricane Ida led to many evacuations from shelters, homes, and nursing homes. Seven nursing facilities took all of their residents to a warehouse to wait out the storm.
However, while the residents were there, four residents out of the 843 died. Louisiana state health officials said they are investigating the facility as they have deemed them unsafe and unhealthy.
A singular owner operates all seven facilities that ended up in the Waterbury Companies, Inc. warehouse in Independence. Aly Neel, Louisiana Department of Health spokesperson, said that when Ida made landfall, conditions within the warehouse deteriorated quickly.
She said that water came into the building, and they were having issues with the generators. Neel also said that they received reports stating that residents were on the floor on mattresses.
No one was attending to their basic needs, and people were not getting fed or changed. There was also zero social distancing in a state with high coronavirus cases. Neel also said when the investigative team arrived at the warehouse, the owner of the homes told them to leave.
Loretta Duet, a wheelchair-bound resident of Lafourche Parish, was visited at the warehouse by her daughters. When they realized how terrible it was, they said they would have taken her with them.
They thought she was transferred to a different nursing home, with a bed and proper meals. Louisiana Gov. John Bell Edwards is upset by the incident.
"We're going to do a full investigation into whether these facilities, the owner of the facilities, failed to keep residents safe and whether he intentionally obstructed efforts to check in on them and determine what the conditions were in the shelter. And if warranted, we will take aggressive legal action against any responsible parties."Gov. John Bel Edwards
Investigating the Owner
According to Neel, the owner's name is Bob Dean. According to Medicare.gov website rating, six of the seven places had low ratings.
The Independence Police Chief Frank Edwards said the facility could properly house 300-350 people, but they had upwards of 800.
Edwards confirmed that residents were sleeping on air mattresses, and there were issues with trash, bathrooms, and electricity. He says conditions were "unacceptable."
The State's health inspectors evacuated residents from the warehouse, taking them to hospitals, homes, and shelters. In total, 14 residents were sent to the hospital.