At least 44 heat-related deaths in Quebec as hot spell comes to an end

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Temperatures are a bit cooler today across Quebec, after overnight showers brought an end to the six-day heat wave that consumed southern Quebec and resulted in the deaths of at least 44 people.

Twenty-eight of those deaths were in Montreal.

Many of the deceased were over the age of 65 and had histories of physical or mental health problems, fitting the profile of those who are more at risk.

Today’s forecast predicts a high of 24 C in Montreal, 10 degrees lower than Thursday’s peak temperature. 

In Quebec City, the high is 20 C today.  

Environment Canada lifted the heat warnings that had been in place in the province for several days, although temperatures are expected to climb back up to 29 C on Sunday and Monday. 

According to Environment Canada’s Serge Mainville, the weather will be much less humid than during this week’s hot spell. 

“The higher temperatures and humid Sunday and Monday will mostly affect southern Quebec,” Mainville said. 

Public health still on alert

Despite the milder weather, paramedic service Urgences-Santé will have a higher number of paramedics working than usual.

Thursday’s temperature reached a high of 34 C, which led to a higher number of 911 calls for paramedics, according to Urgences-Santé spokesperson Valérie Tremblay.

“For the paramedics and the dispatchers, it’s very hard work,” she told CBC News.

She said paramedics responded to 1,378 calls Thursday, about 30 per cent more than the average.

Montreal public health officials are continuing door-to-door checkups today, and will be targeting the most vulnerable clients, according to the regional director of Montreal’s public health department, Mylène Drouin.

“We’re going to visit several rooming houses and possibly old folks’ homes to see how men are recovering,” Drouin said.

About 60 per cent of those who died in Montreal were men living alone. None of them had air conditioning at home, and all of them lived in buildings with many storeys, Drouin said.

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