Death toll during heatwave climbs to 33 in Quebec

Thirty-three people have died so far in Quebec in connection with the heatwave, said public health officials as the extreme heat is expected to come to an end tomorrow.

But they also warn that everyone still has to remain vigilant and take precautions, especially on this last day of the record-breaking hot and humid weather.

Of the 33 victims, 18 are in Montreal - the rest:

- seven in the Eastern Townships;
- five in the Mauricie-Centre-du-Quebec;
- two in the Montérégie;
- one in Laval.

The Montreal victims are mostly men, aged between 50-85, living alone with no air conditioning on the upper levels of the building in areas with several so-called "heat islands" and little greenspace.

Montreal public health said that four or five of the cases involved chronic illnesses and some suffered from mental illness.

Quebec Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois said they are doing their best in terms of prevention but that some people are more vulnerable to the heat, raising the death toll.

Horacio Arruda, the director of Quebec Public Health, said that it`s difficult to make things cooler at certain hospitals and long-term care homes because of the aging and outdated facilities but that they try to minimize the impact of the heat with cooling measures such as setting up more fans, distributing more water, cool facecloths and ice and regularly checking patients' vital signs.

Montreal public security officials going door-to-dor checking on seniors, people living alone and others who may be more vulnerable to the heat have made 40,000 visits so far, referring 83 cases to healthcare services.

Urgences-Santé has received more than 1200 calls with 195 people needing transport to hospital.

Officials urge people to call 911 only in cases of emergency to avoid overloading the call centre and to call 811 instead for non-emergencies.