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Heat Blamed For 4 Maryland Deaths

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — This unusually hot weather is taking its toll.

Derek Valcourt has more on the first heat-related deaths of the season.

There have already been four confirmed deaths and health officials know the reality is there will likely be more.

It’s a scorcher outside, which is why the phones are heating up inside Baltimore City health offices.

The city’s set up a phone bank to call hundreds of Baltimore residents over the age of 80, checking on how they’re handling the heat. Those who don’t answer may get a visit.

“We’re going door to door to make sure we do everything we can to reduce and eliminate the heat-related deaths,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Already, Maryland has seen four deaths from the heat: two from Baltimore City, one in Montgomery County and another in Wicomico County. Doctors say those most at risk have underlying health problems.

“They do worse with the heat and they do worse with every day of the heat, so you can see increasing problems and increasing deaths as a heat wave goes on,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.

But it’s so hot, even healthy adults are having trouble.

“I’ve gotten dizzy and so I decided to carry an umbrella today because the heat just pounds on you. It’s excruciating,” said Gail Harden-Sims.

“If I got business, I take care of it in the morning, so when it starts getting real hot, I’m heading toward home,” said Carl Red.

“I’m not young myself, so it’s pretty hard on all of us,” said Howard Moaney.

Moaney already opens his air conditioned home to friends and family and, with power still out for tens of thousands, health officials hope others will follow his example.

Health officials say as the temperatures have risen over the last few days, they have seen a significant spike in the number of people ages 65 and over showing up at hospital emergency rooms with health problems.

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