SPOKANE COUNTY, July 7, 2021 – The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified 17 heatwave-related deaths that have occurred in Spokane County since Thursday, July 1, 2021.
For comparison, between 2015 to 2020, Spokane County had only 13 deaths in total due to heat exposure.
The deceased individuals range in age from 26 to 84 and include 8 women and 9 men. Most were found alone in houses or apartments without air conditioning. Some were found in buildings where other occupants were suffering from heat-related illnesses.
Many of the deceased had underlying health conditions which made them more susceptible to heat stress. Some also had cognitive impairment or mobility problems that limited their ability to remove themselves from the dangerously hot environment.
Dr. Veena Singh, Chief Medical Examiner for Spokane County, stated, “Unfortunately, I expect that the true number of deaths related to this extreme weather event will probably be higher before the end of summer and once all hospital deaths are examined. The high number of deaths for this region emphasizes the importance of all of us being aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, realizing how lethal these conditions can be, and checking on our neighbors, relatives, and friends to ensure that they are safe.”