Bitterly cold temperatures are making it tough on people who’re already struggling to pay their heating bills. At Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, communications director Jim Wharton says they are seeing more people showing the impact of the cold.
Wharton says this is the time of the year where they see people who don’t have enough clothes or the means to stay warm enough. He says he emergency room will see people come in suffering from frost bite and people who have suffered because of the cold weather. Mercy opens up its cafeteria and south lobby in what it calls “Operation Cold Weather Refuge” to give people a place to stay warm. Wharton says they will keep the areas available until the weather changes.
Wharton says with the temperatures down and the wind chills well below zero, it is too cold and as long as the bitter cold continues, they will keep the warm up areas open. He says senior citizens, infants and small children and people who live alone are the most vulnerable to becoming too cold and suffering from hypothermia.
By Josie Cooper, KSCJ, Sioux City