Milwaukee County officials concerned about recent heat-related deaths
WTMJ News Team
Cody Holyoke reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE- The extreme heat has been deadly as there have been 10 confirmed cases this month and 12 other deaths that may be heat related.
It's a startling statistic for county health experts, who acknowledge the dangers of this heat and worry the death toll has not yet stopped rising.
"Over 50 percent were individuals that were marginally or socially isolated, which I think is a very important factor in predicting heat-related mortality," said Paul Biedrzycki, Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department.
Moms like Marlena Morris are worried the numbers could climb if people don't take care of neighbors in need.
"Somebody needs to do something, even if it's just to keep them company, so they have something to drink, keep water in their system," said Morris.
For people who can leave the house, staying in the shade and drinking water is the name of the game.
"We have extreme weather in Wisconsin, so for us to have a summer like this is kind of enjoyable," said Mike Clinge.
Health experts suggest if you have a cool place to stay, take full advantage of it. Groups like the Salvation Army have opened four cooling centers in the Milwaukee area.
This time around, no one's using them and the seats are empty.
"We've had really minimal requests...I think people have found their own places to go," said Major Roger Ross of the Salvation Army.
The repeated heat means many people could simply be used to hot conditions by now.
But health officials maintain that's no reason to get complacent. "We continue to urge people to be wary of extreme heat events," said Biedrzycki.
Officials also said they're worried the rising number of extreme heat events, paired with an aging population. They believe it could cause problems down the road. They're hoping awareness will curb the numbers.