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Horgan defends province’s efforts to prevent deaths in heat wave as fatalities spike

Premier said ‘there is a matter of personal responsibility’ citizens have in keeping themselves cool
Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Health officials are grappling with a spike in deaths in recent days due to the ongoing heat wave, but Premier John Horgan says the province did what it could to spread awareness.

Vancouver police said they have responded to 65 sudden deaths since Friday when temperatures across B.C. began to skyrocket in a range from the low 30s to 45 C. Meanwhile, Burnaby Mounties responded to more than 25 sudden deaths on Monday alone.

B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe confirmed a significant increase in deaths reported since the heat wave began. The Coroners Service would normally receive approximately 130 reports of death over a four-day period.

“From Friday through Monday, at least 233 deaths were reported.”

When asked about the fatalities, Horgan emphasized “a matter of personal responsibility” citizens have in keeping themselves cool, adding that “fatalities are a fact of life.”

“This is a tragedy upon a whole host of others we’ve had to address over a number of months but I believe we did what we could to get the information out and we rely also on the public press and media outlets who’ve done a really good job in my mind, of making the case, telling people to be wary and we have our internet presence and social media doing that as well.”

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

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