The Texas State Department of Health Services has identified six deaths in the Northeast Texas area connected to the winter storm in February.
According to preliminary data as of Tuesday, DSHS officials have identified 125 storm-related deaths in Texas, including six across five local counties. The state health department’s website notes that data is subject to change as additional information is gathered and additional deaths are verified.
DSHS reported two deaths in Henderson County along with one death each in Cass, Rusk, Hopkins and Hunt counties. The time range of the deaths is between Feb. 11 and March 5.
Most of the verified deaths were related to hypothermia, while there have also been deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes, carbon monoxide poisoning, medical equipment failure, exacerbation of chronic illness, lack of home oxygen, falls and fire.
The DSHS chart does not mention a winter storm-related death that was reported in Harrison County on Feb. 15. County officials said a 66-year-old man was found dead in a wooded area near a mobile home park in Harrison County.
Harrison County Fire Marshal Duana “DJ” Couch said at the time the man was reported missing by his sister who said her brother had a mental disorder and exhibited signs of dementia.
First responders found a mobile home residence vacant and learned he walked off the premises earlier. Other mobile park tenants reported the man had wrecked his vehicle on the premises on the morning of Feb. 15 before walking away.
“He went on out in the woods, and they found him frozen,” Couch said. “The mobile home owner followed tracks in the snow and found him. It is weather-related but there were mental and health issues that did bring this on.”
DSHS said disaster-related deaths are determined in the following ways: medical certifiers submit a DSHS form specifying a particular death was related to a disaster, medical certifiers flag a death record as disaster related and DSHS epidemiologists match public reports of disaster-related deaths to death certificates.
DSHS disaster epidemiologists are continuing to go over information about causes of death related to February’s winter storm.