CHARLESTON (AP) — The June 29 windstorm that caused widespread power outages is being blamed for three deaths in West Virginia, state health officials said Friday.
The Bureau for Public Health said Friday it has completed a review of data received from hospital emergency departments.
“West Virginia hospitals did an outstanding job capturing and reporting this much-needed data to the state,” said Dr. Marian Swinker, the state health officer and commissioner for public health. “Our hospitals are a tremendous asset and partner to Public Health.”
Swinker said deaths occurred in Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from using a generator indoors, delayed access to health care and heat-related illness.
Swinker said other injuries also were associated with the hot weather, people eating spoiled food and some who suffered burns from generators.
“The data collected will help us develop prevention messages that can help save lives in the future,” Swinker said. “While not all storm-related deaths or injuries are preventable, the data serve as a reminder for all of us to be better prepared for the next major event or disaster in West Virginia.”
She said that includes a family disaster kit that could include items such as drinking water, nonperishable food, medications and a first-aid kit.
The June 29 storm and subsequent storms left more than 680,000 customers without electricity across the state. Some had to wait nearly two weeks to have their power restored.
President Barack Obama last month issued a major disaster declaration for West Virginia. It will cover emergency work, repair and replacement of public facilities in 45 counties.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin also is seeking individual assistance in at least 24 counties, which includes grants and services for people who incurred uninsured property damage and loss.