Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called for an investigation into the deaths of four nursing home residents, who were evacuated to a facility in Tangipahoa Parish ahead of Hurricane Ida.
Edwards said three of the four deaths were classified as storm-related by the coroner, including a 59-year-old female from Jefferson Parish, a 52-year-old male from Orleans Parish, and a 77-year-old male from Terrebonne Parish.
“Upon being notified of deteriorating and inadequate shelter conditions at the facility, LDH inspectors visited the site, and I will tell you, were expelled from the property and prevented from conducting the full assessment and that was on Tuesday. They worked hard and they got with other state agencies and local officials, made sure we had new placements for these residents and starting with the most vulnerable. And in a little over 24 hours, all 843 residents were removed from the facility,” Edwards said.
“I would point out that, unless there's a mandatory evacuation order, nursing homes make the decisions about when and where to evacuate. And obviously, they have an obligation legal, moral and otherwise, to always provide safe and adequate conditions for their residents as best they are able to do,” the governor added.
The governor said the 843 nursing home residents were moved to a number of other nursing homes, 12 were moved to a hospital, and others to special needs shelters across Louisiana.
“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,” Edwards said. “If warranted, we will take aggressive legal action against any responsible parties. Our top priority now is making sure that the vulnerable residents are safe and well cared for.”