At least 63 people died in Oregon heat wave, officials say

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Dozens of people perished in Oregon due to the historic heat wave that baked the Pacific Northwest between Friday and Monday, officials said Wednesday.

Forty-five of those people died in one county, Multnomah, which includes Portland.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner identified the cause of the 45 deaths as hyperthermia. The county said “hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the body to deal with heat coming from the environment.”

Oregon State Police said the total statewide was 63.

The identities of those who died has not been released. The county said the people who died ranged in age from 44 to 97. Seventeen were women and 27 were men. Many had underlying health conditions and some were found alone, without air conditioning or a fan.

Emergency rooms in Multnomah County also saw increased visits for heat illness, with 131 between Friday and Monday. They said that is more visits than they would usually see in an entire summer. On Monday, when the temperature again broke records by peaking at 116 degrees, there was a 63% increase in emergency calls.

Outreach workers and community volunteers reported handing out more than 60,000 water bottles total to people experiencing homelessness around the county. They also handed out other essential items.

The county reported 1,040 people slept in their cooling centers. 7,610 people visited cooling centers at the county libraries.

As for Multnomah County Animal Services, 47 heat related calls came in between Friday and Tuesday. Two adult dogs died as a result of the heat.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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