64 more people than average died in Interior Health during heat wave | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

64 more people than average died in Interior Health during heat wave


For the seven peak days of B.C.’s recent heat wave, 110 residents in the Interior Health region died.

That’s 64 more than the average for the same seven-day period (June 25 to July 1) in each of the previous five years, according to data provided by the B.C. Coroners Service today, July 6.

The average for that five-year period was 46 deaths, with the highest number, 59, dying last year.

“Cause and manner of death is determined on a case-by-case basis by the investigating coroner,” states an email from the coroners service.

“They are dealing with an incredible workload at the moment. We will be able to provide more definitive information in the coming weeks, but at this point, can’t speculate on exactly how many of the increased deaths were directly related to the heat.”

Overall, there were 579 more deaths in B.C. during that week than an average year. The provincial total was 777 deaths recorded compared to the five-year average of 198.

Of the higher-than-average deaths, 294 were in the Fraser Health region, 148 in Vancouver Coastal, 55 on Vancouver Island and 28 in the Northern health region.

No data by age or demographics is available at this time but will hopefully be available soon, the email said.

Lisa Lapointe, B.C.’s chief coroner, said on June 30 that those most at risk of dying during the heat wave were the elderly and very young. Many were found in homes without air conditioning or good ventilation.

READ MORE: B.C. coroner says 719 deaths in a week during heat wave, but number could jump

On July 29, an all-time Canadian record of 49.6 Celsius was set in Lytton.

All-time records were also set that day in Kamloops at 47.3 C, Kelowna at 45.7 C and Vernon at 44.2 C. Penticton’s all-time record was set on June 28 at 42.5 C.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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