PORTLAND, Ore. — Most people who perished in last month’s record-smashing heat wave in Oregon’s most populous county were white, male, older and socially isolated, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday in Portland.
Initial tallies show that heat was likely the cause of death for 71 residents of Multnomah County, home to Oregon’s largest city. The heat has been officially confirmed as the cause of death in 54 of those people. Some residents’ bodies were not found for up to a week after the worst of the heat had passed, a fact that authorities said supports the role of social isolation in the deaths. The average age was 70.
“Many of them were our elders, those who need our care the most and many were all alone,” County Chair Deborah Kafoury said.
Three consecutive days of extraordinary temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, which usually experiences mild summers, shattered all-time records and sent public health officials scrambling between June