18 heat-related deaths reported across Santa Clara County in July so far

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, July 11, 2024
14 heat-related deaths reported across Santa Clara Co. in July so far
The heat wave sent temperatures soaring over the Fourth of July holiday, contributing to at least 14 deaths in Santa Clara County.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area is now in its second heat wave of the month.

The first sent temperatures soaring over the Fourth of July holiday, contributing to at least 18 deaths in Santa Clara County.

And the county medical examiner's office says that number could grow with more overnight deaths still under investigation.

In a statement on the deaths, the office confirmed "two individuals were unhoused and one individual was enrolled in a transitional housing program."

"I could see them having a lot of death involved in that because the body can't withstand the temperatures in these cars and vans, you know?" said Order of Malta Knight Duke Powers while dropping off supplies with volunteers at an encampment near the San Jose Mineta International Airport.

MORE: Unhoused person dies due to heat exhaustion in San Jose, Mayor Mahan says

"There's going to be people who just don't make it through this," said Shaunn Cartwright, an advocate with the Unhoused Response Group.

Cartwright says of the 18 people killed, at least six were older than 50.

"People are just in a state right now, they're hungry, they're extremely thirsty, and they're at a point, right now, where they just can't help themselves. It needs to come to them, they are just so depleted and really on the edge right now," she said.

As the heat continues, the county's Office of Emergency Management is keeping more than 20 cooling centers open, some with extended hours.

The VTA is providing free rides to the centers through Friday.

MORE: Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley amid record-breaking temps

"If they need a safe space to go to, to get out of the hot weather, and find water, charge up their devices, that is available to them," said Charles Harris, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management.

The Office of Supportive Housing was also out doing outreach and handing out water to encampments on Wednesday.

For the meantime, they're encouraging everyone to check on loved ones.

"Make sure that they have enough water, that they have enough food, that their AC is working. And if they don't have AC, that they could be transported to a cooling center," Harris said.

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