B.C. recorded 16 suspected heat deaths during recent heat wave

There were 16 suspected heat-related deaths recorded in British Columbia during the sweltering temperatures that began in late July and continued into early August, coroners revealed Tuesday.

The B.C. Coroner Service said the deaths were recorded between July 26 and Aug. 3, and more than half involved people who were 70 years old or older. The youngest people suspected of succumbing to the heat were two people in their 40s.

Officials noted the data are considered preliminary, and “subject to change as coroners’ investigations conclude.”

Heat-related deaths are defined as those in which the deceased’s body temperature indicates hyperthermia, or there is evidence to support that heat was a factor. That evidence can be circumstantial, related to the scene where the body was found, or come from the deceased’s medical history, according to the coroner.

There were dozens of daily temperature records broken in communities across B.C. during the recent heat wave, including some that had been in place for decades. Some areas saw temperatures as high as 40 C.

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