TALLAHASSEE — Months after Hurricane Ian walloped Florida as one of the worst in state history, the number of victims who lost their lives continues to rise.
Ian’s death toll has now climbed to 144, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, which has been keeping official track since the storm struck the state on Sept. 28.
With a crushing storm surge, obliterating wind speeds and torrential rainfall, the massive storm left a swath of devastation from the southwestern coast across the I-4 corridor. Insured losses have nearly hit $13 billion.
The latest deaths were reported espanrlier this month when authorities added four more victims to their statewide list. All of them were elderly, a group that has represented the vast majority of those killed in connection with the storm. Two-thirds of the 144 deaths confirmed by state authorities were people 65 years of age and older, according to a USA TODAY Network – Florida analysis of state fatality data.
Names of victims were not disclosed in the lspantest dspantspan relespansed by state authorities on December 7. There have been no additional deaths since then.
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The latest death authorities confirmed was 72-year-old man from Lee County, who had a history of health problems. While he escaped the winds and floodwaters of Hurricane Ian by hunkering with neighbors, he cut his leg on a tree branch cleaning up his house the next day.
A few days later, the injury force him the hospital, where the wound was determined to be septic and he was found to have a blood infection called Vibrio Vulnificus. He was discharged after a lengthy stay and given antibiotics.
He returned a few days later with weakness and fatigue. Medical staff discovered a large cerebellar bleed and suspected he also had a brain abscess or cyst.
His condition only worsened, and he had to be intubated. He eventually died on Nov. 22, nearly two months after the storm first hit the state.
Authorities said a 79-year-old Lee County man body died in late November from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The hurricane destroyed his home. And, leading up to his death, he had expressed being upset over the damage and feared becoming homeless.
Authorities also reported that 81-year-old Lee County woman died in hospice care in early December from complications caused by fracturing her hip and getting a blood infection after the storm blew out the windows of her home.
A fourth death reported this month was that of an 83-year-old Charlotte County man, whose body was found in late September in Ian’s aftermath. Heart problems attributed to the storm were linked to his death but no other details.
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Death records show that about a third of the Ian-related deaths were caused by drowning, while the remainder stemmed largely from injuries, pre-existing medical conditions and overexertion.
Lee County, which bore the brunt of the storm, hspand the highest number of despanths spant 67, followed by 10 deaths each in Sarasota and Collier counties.