J.R. Atkins, of Missouri City, Texas, wrote in a Facebook post that he was hospitalized after what he thought was a small bug bite turned into swelling and some numbness in his hand. He had been kayaking through flooded streets to check on his neighbors, Atkins wrote, and noticed the bite when he returned home.The bacteria Atkins contracted can quickly turn deadly, according to the CDC. Diagnosing the bacteria early, getting antibiotics and surgery are important to stopping its growth.” (A)
“Floodwaters in two Houston neighborhoods have been contaminated with bacteria and toxins that can make people sick, testing organized by The New York Times has found. Residents will need to take precautions to return safely to their homes, public health experts said….
The results of The Times’s testing were troubling. Water flowing down Briarhills Parkway in the Houston Energy Corridor contained Escherichia coli, a measure of fecal contamination, at a level more than four times that considered safe.” (B)
“At least 35 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have either closed entirely or ordered partial evacuations in advance of Hurricane Irma….Despite Irma’s unprecedented strength – anticipated to be even stronger than Hurricane Andrew in 1992 – the Florida Hospital Association told STAT that the vast majority of its more than 200 member hospitals, including the state’s largest hospitals, remained open as of Saturday afternoon. In total, the association says health care facilities have evacuated nearly 1,900 patients.” (C)
“One of the most common questions surfacing on Reddit and Twitter was whether workers could be fired for not showing up to work because they had left town ahead of the storm. The answer to that question, in many cases, is that they can indeed be fired. Sharon Block, the executive director of the Labor and Worklife program at Harvard Law School and a former Department of Labor employee, says a major storm, even one that yields a state of emergency, doesn’t suspend labor laws. This means that laws that protect workers’ pay still stand, but because in Florida, workers are employed at-will, it also means that (barring a collective-bargaining agreement or contract stating otherwise) workers can still be fired for their absence. “You can be fired for a good reason [or] a bad reason—as long as it’s not an unlawful reason, which is usually discrimination,” Block says.
There are also those who worry less about showing up at work and more about how long they will be stuck there….” (D)
“The NCH Healthcare System is now sheltering 1,200 family members of employees at the two hospitals who are working during the storm through Monday…The hospitals are not public shelters. A longstanding policy has been to allow employees for upcoming shifts to bring their immediate household family members to stay during hurricanes. For the first time, administrators extended the policy for employees scheduled to work two days out — on Monday — because of the magnitude of Hurricane Irma.” (E)
“Hospitals with large volumes of critically ill patients, like Tampa General Hospital, were forced to ride out the storm despite the storm surge risks, reports the Weather Channel. The hospital, located in a Level A evacuation zone, the most vulnerable, kept 800 patients and several hundred staff and family members on-site as the storm hit.
“We have at least 100 patients on ventilators and we are a burn center,” Ellen Fiss, the hospital’s public relations director, said. “Moving these patients would have put their lives more at risk.” “ (F)
““I think the most important thing we did was that after the 2005 period, when our state saw seven to eight hurricanes, we decided to spend tens of millions of dollars to fortify our facilities,” said Steve Sonenreich, chief executive of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. The hospital installed hurricane-proof glass in its windows, for example, and placed generators 30 feet above the flood plain and inside a structure that can withstand winds of 180 mph.
This weekend, it never lost power, Sonenreich said. In fact, staff tested backup generators Saturday afternoon and then just kept them on, even though they weren’t needed. On Monday, the worst damage to the property appeared confined to fallen trees and leaks.” (G)
“When the winds kicked up as Hurricane Irma made its way up Florida’s west coast, rescue workers watched helplessly as the 911 calls piled up on a computer screen.
They weren’t allowed to respond. Winds were so high that emergency services in many areas were suspended to protect the rescuers.
“It just stinks. You’re sitting here not be able to do your job,” said Billy Johnston, a firefighter paramedic with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. “And we got into this job to help people.” “ (H)
About 25 percent of Florida’s population is 60 years and older. This population is more likely to suffer from a disability, chronic illness, memory impairment and mobility problems. Some care homes in Florida evacuated early to get their patients to a safe facility in the north of the state or in other states nearby. Other facilities opted to stay and got more than a week’s worth of supplies.Experts say staying put may be the best health option for the residents
‘We told them we were going on vacation, so they were all pretty willing to go on the bus with us,’ Abigail Mitchell, executive director of HarborChase of North Collier, said to The Washington Post. (I)
“Some of the dangers are obvious. For example, drowning is a top cause of hurricane-related fatalities. But there are some lesser-known health threats that Americans face.
Here are five of them:
Carbon monoxide poisoning. .. generators emit odorless, colorless carbon monoxide, which is toxic to breathe, and experts say the gas poses a poisoning risk when the devices are used improperly.
Chemicals. Mosquitoes.Chronic illnesses. Mental health. (J)
(A) Hurricane Harvey First Responder Gets Flesh-Eating Bacteria From Texas Storm Water, Abigail Abrams, http://time.com/4933050/hurricane-harvey-texas-flesh-eating-bacteria/
(B) Houston’s Floodwaters Are Tainted With Toxins, Testing Shows, by SHEILA KAPLAN and JACK HEALY, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/health/houston-flood-contamination.html?_r=0
(C) Irma forces at least 35 hospitals to evacuate patients. Here’s a rundown, by MAX BLAU, https://www.statnews.com/2017/09/09/irma-hospital-evacuations-rundown/
(D) The Uncertainties of Being Asked to Work During a Hurricane, GILLIAN B. WHITE, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/09/hurricane-irma-work/539295/
(E) 10 a.m. at NCH Downtown Baker Hospital, http://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/health/2017/09/09/nch-hospitals-faces-surge-employees-bringing-family-shelter/649844001/
(F) Florida hospitals continue to weather Hurricane Irma as it batters the coast; Recovery begins in the Caribbean, by Paige Minemyer, http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/population-health/florida-hospitals-continue-to-weather-hurricane-irma-as-it-batters-coast
(G) Florida’s hospitals weather the storm, by Amy Ellis Nutt, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/09/11/floridas-hospitals-weather-the-storm/?utm_term=.3963d0a455c1
(H) Frustrated first responders have to ignore Irma 911 calls, by Elizabeth Cohen and Debra Goldschmidt, http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/health/first-responders-frustrated-during-irma/index.html
(I) Saving the elderly from Irma: How Florida’s hospitals and care homes made shelters for the millions of pensioners who could not get out, by DANIELLE ZOELLNER, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4873412/Hurricane-Irma-forces-care-homes-evacuate-residents.html
(J) The Health 202: Mosquitoes, carbon monoxide and chemicals are big post-Irma health concerns, by Paige Winfield Cunningham, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2017/09/11/the-health-202-mosquitoes-carbon-monoxide-and-chemicals-are-big-post-irma-health-concerns/59b59f6d30fb045176650be9/?utm_term=.25d47e081a9e