ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The City of St. Louis confirms three additional heat deaths, bringin the total of deaths in the city to 17. The St. Louis City Health Director is now asking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to create a national heat death reporting system.
Health Director Pam Walker says it's important to share data, “But neither the CDC nor the National Weather Service has a consistent and immediate extreme weather death reporting system in the region, the state, or the nation. That prevents us from learning from each other."
Walker wants a "state and local task force to establish standards for immediate and accurate reporting of extreme weather illness and death." She explains this might create better prevention of heat deaths.
During times of extreme heat or cold, the City’s medical examiner makes investigating and quickly reporting extreme weather deaths a top priority, so residents can understand the risks during or immediately after an extreme weather event.
The City Department of Health tracks hospital and EMS illness data and releases information to the public within 24 hours.
The total of 17 deaths have occurred since June 28th. That total includes three heat related deaths announced Monday: Ronald Pendleton, a 64 year-old black man, Ozell Garner, a 71-year-old black man, and Robert Moncure, a 65-year-old black man.
Shared information can show patterns and trends. For example, data revealed many of those who died in the most recent heat event had a cognitive or mental health issue. That information prompted the City to develop a system to gather information on populations with mental health issues and add those individuals to our functional needs registry.
City leaders also contacted mental health service providers to recruit their help in checking on that at-risk population. This information allows the City to pinpoint the most at risk individuals during a heat emergency and use its resources more effectively.