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Regional Interests

Medical examiner determines Multnomah County death not linked to heat wave

Multnomah County officials reported on Friday that they were investigating one death potentially linked to the heat wave that began in the region earlier this week. On Saturday, the Oregon medical examiner determined that heat did not contribute to that person’s death.

Officials say the person died on Thursday, a brutally hot day that saw temperatures soar to 103 degrees.

County officials say there have been at least 10 visits to local emergency departments since Thursday due to heat-related illnesses. They typically see between zero to one of these visits per day, according to the release.

The increase in heat-related visits comes at a time when Oregon hospitals are strained by hospitalizations related to the delta variant and a nursing shortage. On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown authorized more than 1,500 National Guard troops to assist overwhelmed hospitals across the state.

During the June heat wave where temperatures reached 116 degrees, at least 62 people died in Multnomah County and there were at least 150 visits to the emergency department related to high temperatures. The county is still waiting on the cause of death for several other people who died during that time.

Oregon remains under a heat-related state of emergency and weather forecasters predict temperatures will remain in the high 90s through Sunday. The county is looking for volunteers to assist at cooling centers and misting stations until then. Those interested can sign up here.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting