Trips to the hospital hit 30 percent higher than usual over the weekend, but dropped to 25 percent over normal by Monday. Most, if not all, of the storm-related visits were “non-life-threatening, heat-related” injuries, said Virginia Hospital Center Public Relations Director Kristen Peifer Dugan.
Those injuries include exhaustion, light-headedness and dehydration. Many of the patients were elderly.
Although one person died when struck by a car on a darkened Columbia Pike, there were no reported deaths in Arlington from the heat, despite widespread power-outages after the storms Friday night that tore through the region. Other emergency management officials in the county confirmed the number.
Virginia Hospital Center runs the hospital on N. George Mason Drive and the urgent care facility on S. Carlin Springs Road.
County officials worried about the elderly at Culpepper Garden when that facility lost power and then had to run on two of three generators. Culpepper Garden is an eight-floor retirement and assisted-living facility in the Buckingham neighborhood.
The assisted living wing was given the lion’s share of the power. The air conditioning and one elevator were kept on.
The independent living wing is an apartment complex for moderate income retirees. The elevators were turned off and electricity was not enough to run refrigerators and freezers, residents said on Sunday. Temperatures reached 90 in some apartments, residents said.
Power was back on at Culpepper Garden by Monday.
"Right now, all [retirement and assisted living facilities] are running," John Crawford said yesterday afternoon. He is the point-of-contact for the Office of Emergency Management in the county. We have "no problems at any of our facilities” at this time, he said. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, 12,000 customers were still without power in Arlington, Crawford said.
Mary Davis lives on the 5th floor of Culpepper Garden. While eating a fudgesicle in the lobby of the building yesterday, she said it was tough to get through the weekend.
Her daughter lives in Falls Church and checked on her mother, and took her to the store for supplies. But Davis’ daughter had parents-in-law visiting so there was no extra room for sleeping in the daughter’s house.
Davis lived in the same house in Syracuse, N.Y., for 21 years, so she knows a thing or two about severe weather, but she said she had never seen anything with the intensity of Friday night’s storm.
However, she had a plan to stay healthy: “I ate very little and drank a lot of water.” She is a big walker and likes to get out into the nature that surrounds the Culpepper Garden building. However, she walked the halls of the building to stay inside, she said.
Officials praised each other. Dugan said that she was very pleased with the communication between the county and the hospital, and Crawford said Dominion Power has been working very hard and efficiently.
"They've been doing one heck of a job," Crawford said.