July 7, 2018 09:36 AM NPT
QUEBEC, July 7: Quebec health officials say there are now at least 54 reported deaths that have been linked to a heat wave that blanketed the province over the last few days.
Twenty-eight of those deaths are in Montreal.
Public health director Horacio Arruda pointed out most of those who died were members of vulnerable communities, such as people who lived alone or lived with chronic or mental illness.
They were mostly men aged between 53 and 85; none of them had air conditioning in their homes.
“If you’re alone at home, don’t stay alone,” insisted Social Services Minister Lucie Charlebois.
Montrealers should have some relief Friday and Saturday, with expected highs of 24C and 28C respectively, before the temperature rises again slightly on Sunday.
“It will be hot, but it won’t be excessively humid,” explained Serge Mainville, with Environment Canada, noting heat warnings have been lifted for the next few days.
Urgences-Santé has seen an increased number of calls since the heat wave began.
“We’ve had about 1,000 calls every day,” said Stefan Overhoff, operations chief.
“On average, we’re at about 1,200 to 1,350 calls since the start of the heat wave.”
Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called on Montrealers to take care of each other.
“If you feel there’s an old neighbour on the side and you’re wondering if they’re safe, please go knock on the door and find out if the person is OK and needs any help.”
While the stifling weather also blanketed Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada, no deaths have been reported elsewhere, in part because various jurisdictions have different ways of gathering data on heat-related fatalities.