In A Flash

Louisiana online data portal tracks heat-related illnesses, deaths

By: - August 28, 2023 4:45 pm
An outdoor thermometer registers a temperature of 100 degrees

The Louisiana Department of Health has launched a new dashboard to track heat-related deaths and visits to emergency rooms. (JJ Gouin/Getty Images via Canva)

The Louisiana Department of Health launched a new online data portal providing information on heat-related illnesses and deaths, as the state finds itself in one of its hottest summers in decades. 

The dashboard includes information on heat-related deaths categorized by region of the state as well as race, gender and ethnicity of the victims. There is also a list of Louisiana emergency room visits for heat-related illnesses by date and parish. 

The state also released a demographic breakdown of the people seeking treatment for heat-related illnesses in local emergency rooms. Louisiana received a federal grant earlier this year to start tracking heat-related emergency room visits statewide. 

The health department will update the dashboard weekly every Tuesday.

Highlights of the information as of Aug. 28 include:

  • Louisiana has recorded 26 heat-related deaths since June, with more than half (16) occurring in July. Other heat-related deaths from this period could be reported in the future. Cause-of-death investigations can take as long as eight weeks, so there could be a delay in getting the final tally for the summer months. 
  • Half of the people killed by a heat-related illness were 65 or older. Most (88%) were male. 
  • Emergency room visits for heat-related illnesses hit their high in late June. Louisiana had over 100 ER trips per day from June 27-30. At no other point in the summer have ER visits surpassed 100 per day. 
  • People have made more visits to the emergency room for heat-related illnesses at the end of the week, with Thursday (754 visits) and Saturday (765 visits) seeing the most action. 
  • Men were much more likely to visit the emergency room for a heat-related illness than women. They made up 76% of the patients during these visits.

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press.