The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills has a health inspection rating of "much below average" by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, which evaluates all long-term care facilities in the state for the USA government.
A state official eventually said they found a generator and gas, but it was not needed: The power turned back on.
More than 6 million people were evacuated from their homes in Florida, and they have slowly begun to return, even as roadways remain littered with debris, homes lack electricity and traffic signals have gone dark.
The deaths, believed to be storm-related, would take the death toll from Irma in Florida to at least 18 and more than 55 overall including those in the hard-hit Caribbean.
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Hollywood Fire Rescue evacuated residents from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, 1200 N 35th Ave., after some residents awoke sick. Authorities have warned that these devices can be deadly, noting they can easily sicken or kill people inside homes. Miami's Mike Carvelli, whose mother is at the facility, said his brother was there earlier this week and found it "a little warm, but not uncomfortable" and there were portable air conditioning units in use. "Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe - especially patients that are in poor health". "Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable", Scott said.
WLRN says the Rehabilitation Center had a history of poor performances in state regulators' inspections. State law also requires nursing homes to maintain a temperature of 81 degrees or cooler.
Reached by phone on Thursday, Rosemary Cooper, a licensed practical nurse at the rehabilitation center, declined to discuss specifics about the case, citing the investigation. Michel is listed in state corporate records as Larkin's president, as well. Along with Michel, the Justice Department named Philip Esformes - whose name arose again last summer, when he was indicted after federal prosecutors accused him of leading "a complex and profitable health care fraud scheme that resulted in staggering losses - in excess of $1 billion". The Florida Health Care Association, an industry group for long-term care, released a statement emphasizing the strain Hurricane Irma has put on nursing homes and care centers.
Kerting Baldwin, a spokeswoman for Memorial Healthcare System, which runs four hospitals that received the evacuees, said staff were "assessing patients and tending to the health-care needs of the residents". More than 300,000 customers in the county, or a third of the total, are still without power as of midday Wednesday. Their causes of death have not been confirmed.
"A number of people were in respiratory and other distresses", said Sanchez. The move came after workers repaired three water main breaks.