Two San Jose seniors die in heat wave

Sweltering temperatures claimed the lives of two senior citizens in San Jose on Monday, Santa Clara County public health officials said Wednesday afternoon.

The 87-year-old woman’s name has not been released pending the notification of her family. The other victim, a 72-year-old man, has not yet been identified, according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office.

Michelle Jorden, a neuropathologist with the medical examiner’s office, said in a statement:

“It is tragic when someone dies of hyperthermia, since in most every case, it could have been prevented. … ┬áHyperthermia and heat stress happen when a body’s heat regulation system cannot handle the heat. … It can happen to anyone, which is why it is so important to be in a cool location, drink plenty of water and take a cool bath or shower if you are getting too hot.”

The heat wave began on Saturday. The National Weather Service’s heat advisory remains in effect until Thursday night as temperatures in the 90s are expected to continue across most of the county.

Sara Cody, the county’s Health Officer and Public Health Director, said in a statement:

“Those who are frail or have chronic health conditions, are dealing with drug or alcohol issues or are homeless may be at risk for heat-related illness. … People who work or exercise outside in the heat need to know that even a few hours of exertion may lead to heat-related illness or even heat stress,”

Cody added:

“Never leave children, elderly people or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning or in vehicles.”

San Jose, Gilroy and Morgan Hill are still under excessive heat advisories, county officials said, and overnight temperatures are expected to remain above normal tonight and Thursday evening.

Overnight low temperatures in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be in the 70s and 80s with other areas of the Santa Clara Valley in the 50s and 60s overnight.

Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith said in a statement:

“While it is essential that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out to those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of extreme heat, including children, the elderly and their pets. … Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience. It can be dangerous and even deadly. … But we can protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated.”

Cooling centers have been made available at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and at public libraries and community centers in San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos and Campbell.

A list of the cooling centers’ addresses and hours can be found at the county’s Office of Emergency Services website at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/oes/Pages/Office-of-Emergency-Services.aspx.