The second RI heatwave of 2022 caused one heat-related death
PROVIDENCE – With the metro area locked down Tuesday in the sixth day of this summer’s second heat wave – which was finally expected to end on Wednesday – the Rhode Island Department of Health is reporting one heat-related death in 2022, the first since 2019.
Meanwhile, Lifespan, the state’s largest hospital system, reported 24 heat-related ER visits during this wave. Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest health care system, reported three patients treated for heat exhaustion, “none serious,” according to spokeswoman Jessica McCarthy.
Succession is on the way.
The National Weather Service mid-afternoon on Tuesday reported a temperature of 96 degrees at Rhode Island TF Green International Airport, with heat index values as high as 105 degrees – but forecasts called for showers and thunderstorms before midnight, with temperatures dropping to around 68 overnight.
Temperatures Wednesday through Sunday are expected to be in the low to mid-80s.
After:The heat wave is expected to break out on Wednesday; thunderstorms, heavy rain possible Tuesday
Four heat-related deaths in 2013
Could the 2022 heat-related death toll rise? This question will not be answered until the Department of Health and the State Medical Examiner’s Office complete reviews of the cause and manner of death, a process that can take months.
A look at history suggests that heat-related deaths correlate with heat waves. Health Department data from 2010 to this year shows 13 heat-related deaths for the period, with a record four deaths in 2013. During a heat wave that summer, the temperature in Providence rose reached 98.1 degrees on July 19.
The second highest number of such deaths for the period, three, occurred during a heat wave in August 2018. During it, the temperature reached 93.9 degrees on August 6. There were no heat-related deaths in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2021, according to the Department of Health.
According to Lifespan spokeswoman Kelly Brennan, during the July heat wave, 13 heat-related visits were reported to emergency rooms at hospitals across the system, including Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s, Miriam and Newport.
During the July surge, CNE spokeswoman McCarthy said, “Seven patients were treated for heat-related injuries. Three cases were dehydration severe enough to cause syncope,” a temporary loss of consciousness.
“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate”
Westerly Hospital Emergency Department Nurse Manager Bethany Gingerella wrote in an email: “We have seen many heat-related cases throughout the recent heat wave. We urge people to remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate as much as possible when in extreme temperatures, seek shaded areas when possible, and most importantly, refrain from strenuous activities as much as possible during the hottest times of the day.
“People with many health conditions should look for air-conditioned areas. Also, be mindful of cooling centers in your community if you don’t have access to air conditioning.
A heat advisory was in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday, the weather service said.
A list of cooling centers is at https://bit.ly/3JCUQp0
With reports by writer Jack Perry