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Sudden death toll rises to 98 in Vancouver amid scorching heat wave

Two-thirds of the deaths occurred to people 70 years or older, according to Vancouver Police
Dozens of officers have been redeployed in Vancouver to respond to those in medical distress during the heat wave. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The scorching heat wave that has blanketed B.C. is taking a deadly toll as the suspected cause of dozens of deaths have stretched first responders thin.

In Vancouver, sudden deaths rose to 98 on Wednesday, with 45 people having died in past 24 hours. Two-thirds were people 70 years or older.

“Vancouver has never experienced heat like this. If you have an elderly or vulnerable family member, please give them a call or stop by to check on them,” said Sgt. Steve Addison.

Vancouver Police typically respond to between three and four sudden deaths each day – a number that has risen to more than 14 daily as temperatures as high as 41 C have baked the city since Friday.

Dozens of officers have been redeployed to respond to the emergency and ease the backlog of 911 calls it has created.

“Our officers are stretched thin,” Addison said. “Until this subsides, our priority will be responding to crimes-in-progress and calls that involve an immediate risk to the public.”

The BC Coroners Service confirmed in total more than 100 lives have been lost in the heat wave.

RELATED: Dozens of deaths in Vancouver linked to heat wave as police scramble to keep up

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