VDH reports heat-related illnesses nearly doubled

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Department of Health says the number of people in the state needing medical treatment for heat-related illnesses has nearly doubled compared with last July.

Cooling shelters have begun opening up throughout the Quad Cities area due to extreme heat. (MGN Image)

Data released Sunday show just over 1,000 people visited emergency departments or urgent-care for heat-related illness since the beginning of the month, up from just under 600 during the same period last year.

Virginia's chief deputy commissioner for public health and preparedness, Parham Jaberi, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the numbers describe a serious public health threat.

Jaberi said there have been four heat-related deaths in the state within the past week, including an infant left in a car. She said the three others were older than 69 and included a woman doing yard work and a person sitting in a car.

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