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Dangers linger as Florida recovery picks up momentum

MIAMI — Nearly a week after Hurricane Irma walloped Florida, the recovery mission picked up momentum as more people had electricity and schools made plans to reopen later this month.

Officials said about 1.9 million homes and businesses were without power, including 64 nursing homes.

And other dangers also lingered, including the effects of noxious gas from generators serving those who still don’t have power.

In Palm Beach County, carbon monoxide from a generator seeped into a home, killing a woman and leaving three men in critical condition. Near Miami, a family of four was treated Friday for exposure to the fumes from a generator outside of their apartment.

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At least 34 people have died in the United States under Irma-related circumstances, the vast majority in Florida. The death toll across the Caribbean stood at 38.

Meanwhile, Florida made urgent efforts to protect its vulnerable elderly residents.

An investigation continued into the deaths of eight people at a nursing home when the hurricane knocked out power and the facility lost air conditioning.

The deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were believed to be heat-related.

Several other nursing homes were evacuated because of a lack of power or air conditioning, and workers scrambled to keep patients cool with emergency stocks of ice and Popsicles.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida announced Thursday night that he directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to terminate the Hollywood Hills center as a provider for Medicaid, which helps low-income people receive health care.

Schools in some areas made plans to welcome back students.

In the hard-hit southwestern part of the state, Lee County schools Superintendent Greg Adkins announced classes will begin Sept. 25. Three of the district’s buildings needed extensive roof repair.