B.C. chief coroner Lisa Lapointe revises death numbers upward in current heat wave

It's possible that nearly 500 people have died across the province due to the heat

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      This isn't the first time that B.C. has seen deaths rise in a heat wave.

      That was documented back in 2009 when unseasonably hot Metro Vancouver temperatures resulted in a significant increase in fatalities.

      But nothing has occurred on a scale of the past week.

      Today, B.C.'s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe said in a statement that 719 deaths have been reported to coroners from June 25 through to July 1.

      "This number is preliminary and subject to increase as additional reported deaths are entered into our system," Lapointe emphasized. "The 719 deaths reported is three times more than what would normally occur in the province during the same period."

      This suggests the norm is about 240 deaths. That means there have been 479 more reported deaths than usual during the heat wave.

      Today, however, there's been a downward trend, she added. And coroners hope that this continues.

      “We are releasing this information as it is believed likely the extreme weather B.C. has experienced in the past week is a significant contributing factor to the increased number of deaths," Lapointe said.

      She encouraged people to visit cooler environments, including air-conditioned community spaces, libraries, malls, and cooling centres to find respite from the heat.

      "Many of the deaths experienced over the past week were among older individuals living alone in private residences with minimal ventilation," Lapointe continued. “British Columbians are encouraged to visit this website for valuable advice on staying safe during extreme weather."