Heatwave to blame for 78 deaths across Washington, DOH says

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — The recent heatwave is believed to have caused 78 deaths across Washington state. 

A release from the Washington Department of Health said the majority of these deaths happened in King and Pierce Counties, with 33 reported deaths on June 29. Nineteen counties in total have reported heat-related deaths, including Spokane County. 

The numbers released by the state are preliminary and subject to change. The DOH currently has two heat-related deaths reported in Spokane County, but in the latest update, the Spokane County Medical Examiner said that 20 recent deaths were likely caused by heat-related problems. 

The total number of deaths across the state are expected to rise as more information is reported.

READ: Study: Northwest heat wave impossible without climate change

Experts said extreme heat events, and subsequently more heat-related deaths, are likely a result of climate change. 

“This huge jump in mortality due to heat is tragic and something many people thought they’d never see in the Pacific Northwest with its mostly moderate climate,” said Acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist. “But climates are changing, and we see the evidence of that with dramatic weather events, major flooding, historic forest fires, and more.”

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