PORTLAND, Ore. — The Multnomah County Medical Examiner said Wednesday that 45 people in the county died due to excessive heat since last Friday.
“This was a true health crisis that has underscored how deadly an extreme heat wave can be, especially to otherwise vulnerable people,” said Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines.
The preliminary cause of death is hyperthermia, or an abnormally high body temperature. Statewide, there were only 12 deaths from hyperthermia from 2017 to 2019.
The victims range in age from 44 to 97; at least 27 men and 17 women. Many had underlying health conditions and died alone without air conditioning or a fan.
Between Friday and Monday, more than 130 people in the county visited the hospital after getting sick in the heat. Officials recorded the highest-ever number of 911 calls for medical emergencies over the weekend. Hospitals reported two to five times the number of cases of cardiac arrests.
Two dogs are believed to have died from the heat as well. There were 28 times the normal amount of calls to Multnomah County Animal Services between Friday and Tuesday.