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Death toll jumps to 33 as heat wave continues to bake southern Quebec

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The heat-related death toll jumped to 33 across Quebec Thursday, as Environment Canada issued a smog and heat warning for today.

As of midday, Montérégie’s public health department reported two more deaths caused by the worst heat wave Quebec has seen in decades. Montreal’s health department reported 18, and seven have been reported in the Eastern Townships.

One death in Laval, five in Centre-du-Québec and another in Mauricie brought the total number of heat-related deaths in the province up to 33, and more are expected.

It’s not clear whether people in other Canadian provinces — including in Ontario — affected by similar extreme heat and humidity have died. That’s because the reporting system differs from province to province.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario said that it hadn’t had any confirmed reports of heat-related deaths, but added that “an investigation can take at least 90 days before the cause of death is confirmed depending on the circumstances and the complexity of the case.”

None of the deaths in Quebec took place in public health institutions, according to Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois.

“We have to remain vigilant and continue to take precautions to avoid health problems,” Charlebois said Thursday at a news conference.

Charlebois encouraged people to reach out to loved ones, especially those who might be more vulnerable.

“The situation should be back to normal shortly.”

Health officials have said the people who died didn’t have air conditioning in their homes and had health issues.

 

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