Number of sudden deaths during B.C.'s heat dome revised up to 815 — and more hot weather is on the way

·2 min read
The number of people suddenly dying quadrupled during the week of B.C.'s heat dome compared to previous years, according to preliminary statistics. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
The number of people suddenly dying quadrupled during the week of B.C.'s heat dome compared to previous years, according to preliminary statistics. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

The number of sudden deaths recorded during the week of June's heat wave has risen to 815, according to preliminary statistics updated on Monday by the BC Coroners Service, as unseasonable temperatures are forecast to return to the province this week.

A total of 354 of those deaths, during the week of June 25 to July 1, were recorded in the Fraser Health region, and 208 were recorded in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

The numbers represent a nearly 300 per cent increase over the average number of sudden deaths in that week, 198, between 2016 and 2020.

They were released as Environment Canada issued another special weather statement about increasing temperatures in the province later this week, including temperatures into the high 30s in the Interior.

"A strengthening ridge of high pressure over the southern Interior will boost daytime high temperatures into the mid- to high-30s Celsius with overnight lows in the mid- to high-teens later this week," the special weather statement reads.

Temperatures will peak from Wednesday to Saturday, with the South Coast seeing temperatures rise 3 to 5 C above normal.

Residents are being warned to stay in cool places and stay hydrated.

600% jump in sudden deaths in Fraser Health

The number of heat-related deaths during the week of June's heat dome are still being tallied.

"Data for the number of deaths confirmed as heat-related is not yet available. All deaths reported are currently being investigated to establish cause and manner of death," a BC Coroners Service statement said.

"While this data is usually not released until it has had time to settle, preliminary statistics are being made available due to public interest."

Fraser Health saw an approximately 600 per cent jump in people suddenly dying during that week compared to previous years.

In that week, the health authority reported just over 50 sudden deaths on average over the last five years, while Vancouver Coastal reported about 45 in the same period.

More than 300 sudden deaths were reported throughout the province on one day alone — June 29, the day Lytton shattered Canada's all time temperature record.

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