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Two dead in Oregon as heat wave bakes Pacific Northwest

two-dead-in-oregon-as-heat-wave-bakes-pacific-northwest
David Ryder/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The severe heat in the Northwest has now turned deadly, with the Oregon state medical examiner reporting two suspected heat deaths on Wednesday.

With temperatures expected to stay in the triple digits across much of the Northwest this weekend, officials are warning people of the dangers.

One death was reported by Multnomah County, which includes Portland, on July 25. Officials have not said where and when the second death occurred.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet responded to ABC News’ request for further details on the deaths.

Over a dozen counties across Oregon remain in a state of emergency on Thursday.

Spreading across the country, over 35 million Americans continue to be under excessive heat warnings or heat alerts, with many of them in the Northwest.

Redding, California, will likely near 115 degrees on Thursday to break its previous record, according to the National Weather Service.

Spokane, Washington, may also break a record on Thursday as it is projected to reach 102 degrees.

The extreme heat in the region, coupled with record warm nights, is expected to reach into next week, the NWS said.

Multnomah County officials ask residents to take the heat seriously.

Officials have set up overnight cooling shelters and a daytime cooling center along with officials from the city of Portland and community partners.

County officials said the centers will remain open until at least Friday morning.

“People don’t think they’re at risk from heat. But we have plenty of younger people ending up in the emergency room right now. It’s not cooling off much at night and we’re only halfway through this thing,” Brendon Haggerty, program supervisor at the Multnomah County Health Department, said in a statement.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division has put measures in place to ensure safety for outdoor workers during the heat.

According to OSHA, when the heat index hits or exceeds 80 degrees, employers need to provide shady areas for workers to rest, more break time and access to plenty of water. If the index hits 90 degrees, breaks must be longer, communication must become more frequent and each worker must be monitored more closely throughout the shift.

During a 2021 heat wave, 800 people died in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia throughout late June and early July. Heat records were broken across the region, with Portland hitting 116 degrees at its peak.

For more information on heat safety, click here.

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