15 nursing home residents who were evacuated to a Tangipahoa Parish facility ahead of Hurricane Ida have died, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Of those 15 deaths, coroners have confirmed 5 to be storm-related.
More than 800 residents from seven facilities in Orleans, Lafourche, Jefferson, and Terrebonne Parishes were taken to a warehouse in Independence before Ida made landfall on August 29.
Multiple agencies are now involved in an investigation of the massive, makeshift shelter, where the hundreds of residents were bunched into light living spaces to ride out the storm. Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that his team has launched a full investigation into the incident.
Additional deaths may be considered storm-related pending autopsy/pathology results, but Litten stressed that these deaths have not yet been classified as directly related to Hurricane Ida.
LDH spokesperson Kevin Litten tells KATC there's an important distinction between the total number of deaths regardless of cause and storm-related deaths.
"As time passes and given the health conditions that required a nursing home level of care, unfortunately the number of deaths among this group is likely to increase," said Litten, which is why it's important to make that distinction between the two.
Relatives of four people who were evacuated to the warehouse have filed suit against the owner of the facilities. The state has since revoked the licenses of the seven nursing homes and terminated their Medicaid provider agreements.
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