Five more people die of heat in Montreal, bringing city total to 33

Five more people have died as a result of extreme heat and humidity in Montreal after a week of record-breaking temperatures, bringing the city total up to 33, public health officials said Saturday.

The number continued to climb in spite of lower temperatures over the weekend.

"The worse days were Tuesday and Wednesday,'' said Dr. David Kaiser.

On Friday, provincial officials said 54 people had died province-wide, but they could not immediately be reached for updated numbers on Saturday.

Over the past week, temperatures as high as 35 C were reported in Quebec and Ontario, and the temperature is set to rise again in Montreal by the end of the weekend, with the humidex expected to reach up to 36 on Sunday and Monday.

While the stifling weather also hung over Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada, no deaths had been reported elsewhere, in part because various jurisdictions have different ways of gathering data on heat-related fatalities.

Those who are most at risk are children and seniors, according to the Government of Canada website. 

In Montreal, almost all were over the age of 50 or 60.

"The majority of people who have died in Montreal were part of those vulnerable during extreme heat conditions,'' said Kaiser.

"Most of the deaths are a result of chronic illnesses, but due to the high temperatures, it is possible to conclude that the heat has contributed to the high number of deaths.''

Although the temperature was down over the weekend, Kaiser said the message to people in Montreal stays the same. 

He encouraged them to check on their neighbours, especially those who are vulnerable and often isolated.

Environment Canada has lifted heat warnings for the affected regions, including Quebec, for the next several days.

"We really hope that the next information we have to give out is the last and total number of deaths for this heat wave.''