Hurricane Matthew: The latest hospital closures, evacuations

Hurricane Matthew, now a Category 3 system churning northwest along Florida's east coast, is packing more than 100 mph winds and storm surges up to 11 feet, according to the latest New York Times report.

Matthew is the most powerful storm threatening the Atlantic coast in more than a decade. President Obama declared states of emergency in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, and the hurricane has caused more than 280 deaths in Haiti. As of Friday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said more than 500,000 Florida residents have lost power.

The Department of Homeland Security said area hospitals in the hurricane's path should be ready to run on backup power for at least three days or until power is restored. The agency said fuel and generators will be prioritized for hospitals.

In preparation for the storm, hospitals in Hurricane Matthew's path have transferred and discharged patients.

In the latest developments:

  • Local emergency officials reported the first U.S. storm-related death Friday. A 58-year-old woman in St. Lucie County died of cardiac arrest. The woman called for emergency assistance at 1:20 a.m. Friday, but the call came after emergency operations were suspended because of Matthew, The Weather Channel reports.

  • The western edge of the storm's eye neared Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday morning with registered winds as high as 107 mph, according to The Weather Channel. The winds prompted a rare extreme wind warning in the area. Health First evacuated high-need or critical care patients from its Cape Canaveral hospital by Oct. 5. The patients were transferred to other Health First hospitals.

  • Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick evacuated all 180 inpatients and closed its emergency room Oct. 7 at 7 a.m. A statement from SGHS said the evacuation stems from the likelihood of power losses due to predicted storm surges. Transferred patients were received by Georgia and Florida facilities.

  • Baptist Health in south Florida will keep its hospitals and emergency departments open as Hurricane Matthew nears.

  • Jacksonville, Fla.-based hospitals began readying supplies and reviewing emergency action plans Oct. 4, according to News 4 Jax. University of Florida Health Hospital held a preparatory meeting Tuesday afternoon to review a checklist of supplies for each department to ensure the hospital has everything it needs to treat patients before, during and after the Category 3 hurricane. The meetings will continue until the storm no longer presents a threat, according to the report.

  • Nemours locations in northeast Florida were closed Thursday and Friday, including downtown Jacksonville, south Jacksonville, Fleming Island, Daytona, Lake City, Brunswick and home office locations, News 4 Jax reports.

  • Miami-based Jackson Health System will sustain normal operations at all facilities, with the exception of its primary care clinics, ambulatory care centers and its rehab outpatient clinic, which will all be closed Thursday and Friday. The system has advised pregnant women to go to the hospital if they are: carrying multiple babies and are at least 34 weeks into pregnancy; have placental implantation abnormalities and are at least 28 weeks into pregnancy; have a history of preterm labor; or are referred to the hospital by a treating physician.

  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health closed its five hospitals and will remain open only for emergency and trauma patients, according to CNBC.

  • More than 75 hospital patients from Wuesthoff Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla., were moved to another facility, officials said, according to WKMG-TV. It is not clear where the patients were transferred, the report stated.

  • Florida officials warn Hurricane Matthew could impede efforts to control Zika in Florida, as heavy winds could halt mosquito control efforts.       

More articles about hospital facilities management:
Cape Canaveral Hospital evacuates in advance of Hurricane Matthew
Air conditioning malfunction at Pennsylvania hospital to cost $13.5M in damages
$15M expansion underway at Douglas County Hospital: 4 things to know

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