In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25% of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged. Its emergency room doctors and staff were ready to help. But there were also several days to prepare, and the loss of power is one of the first things to happen with a hurricane.
"I kept calling", the woman said.
The home said in a statement that the hurricane knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.
The roll call of victims and their ages are heartbreaking: They were parents, grandparents. Eli Pina's 96-year-old mother lives in the facility. Asked whether the severity of the two hurricanes had led him to rethink his position on climate change he said: "Well, we've had bigger storms than this". Four more died in hospitals after the sweltering facility was evacuated Wednesday morning in a chaotic blur of events that prompted checks of other nursing homes in the area. County officials released documents showing that the Hollywood facility was in compliance with that regulation and that it held a hurricane drill with its staff in October.
An assisted living center that went without power for almost three days said that its efforts to run fans and keep breezes flowing between open windows could only go so far. While some of the deficiencies appeared likely to affect few residents, the report indicated other more-serious deficiencies were found in areas such as food safety, disposal of garbage and infection-control programs. Temperatures reached into the 90s on Tuesday on Wednesday in Hollywood. Residents have increasingly expressed anger at Florida Power & Light, the only electricity company on the East coast of Florida, for what they say was inadequate planning or structural reinforcements before the storm.
By 10 p.m. Monday the center said five more calls were made for help.
Police Chief Tomas Sanchez described the second floor "as excessively hot". He said they were "special, special people and we love them".
Florida's fits and starts toward post-Irma recovery have shifted to urgent efforts to protect its vulnerable elderly residents after a string of nursing home deaths.
Earlier this week, a risky scene played out inside an assisted care facility for patients with dementia and memory impairment in Cape Coral, Florida, on the state's Gulf Coast.
The rehab center is located directly across the street from Memorial Regional Hospital, which is one of the largest in the state.
"It was literally feet away", he said.
The president also took time to acknowledge the work of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, even going so far as to prod the governor on a possible senate run.
"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", Scott said in a prepared statement. The separate Florida Assisted Living Association said many of its South Florida members lacked electricity.
According to STAT, federal regulators have cited the nursing home twice for violations related to its generators.
The owner of the nursing home also is an officer of Larkin Community Hospital, a medical center with a troubled history.
The incident raised concerns about the welfare of residents at other nursing centers.
Statewide, 64 nursing homes were still waiting for full power Thursday, according to the Florida Health Care Association. In addition, there are more than 3,100 assisted living facilities with more than 99,000 beds.
An estimated 150 facilities out of the almost 700 in the state are now without full power services, the association said.