Warehouse with nursing home patients evacuated; 4 dead, more than a dozen hospitalized

Louisiana News

INDEPENDENCE, La. (BRPROUD) – Four nursing home patients in Independence have died after more than 800 were moved to a warehouse facility ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Renetta Derosia rushed to the Waterbury Warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish after hearing the news that patients inside the facility died.

Her mother Loretta Duet was one of the more than 800 patients moved from facilities around the state to shelter as the storm devastated parts of the state.

“It’s my mom you know. Less than a year we lost two sisters and my dad with Covid. It’s just been a very tough year,” said Derosia.

Thursday the patients were taken out of the facility after four people died and more than a dozen were hospitalized.

“I had no clue, I thought they were coming to a nursing home,” said Derosia.

Along with Duet, Bonnie Correnti was also inside the Waterbury company’s warehouse. Her niece Sabrina Cox made it to the facility moments after emergency response vehicles took the remaining patients away.

Cox said she knew her aunt was at the facility but did not think it was as bad as the state’s office of public health described.

“I was thinking they would have generators and back up stuff. They’re doctors and nursing, of course they would be taken care of, not this,” said Cox.

“We just recently learned of these conditions and how they were being treated on floors,” said Derosia.

Tuesday the Louisiana Department of Health got word those conditions were bad. When they attempted to inspect the place, they were kicked off the property.

“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,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

According to Doctor Joe Kanter with LDH four people died increasing the number of deaths related to Hurricane Ida.

“I have no words,” said Kanter.

Families said their loved ones should have never been in these conditions and the people responsible should face consequences. 

“I want us all to get together and find out where our loved ones are and make sure that they are taken care of and quit paying the nursing homes we just paid to take care of them that haven’t done anything,” said Cox.

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