ST. PAUL, OR (KPTV) - Oregon’s dangerous heat wave turned deadly.

Oregon OSHA confirms a farmworker died Saturday in St. Paul, where temperatures got to 105, related to the heat.

The state is now investigating Ernst Nursery and Farms in St. Paul as well as Brother Farm Labor Contractor.

The nursery office was closed when we got there and FOX 12 tried to get ahold of several people by phone for comment but wasn’t able to.

Oregon's heat wave turns deadly; Portland metro-area hospital beds at "critically short supply"

Image: KPTV

The owner of the contracting company confirmed the person who died was an employee of theirs but didn’t want to share a statement or other information.

According to OSHA, the employee was working on a crew moving irrigation lines and was found unresponsive in the field at the end of his shift.

At the same time, the Oregon Health Authority said since Friday, Portland-area hospitals have seen just over 500 heat-related emergency and urgent care visits, nearly half of those on Monday alone.

Multnomah County seeing numbers that would normally span nearly an entire summer, not one weekend.

The state saying hospital beds are now in “critically short supply.”

OHSU Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Bory Kea tells us they’re seeing more heat-related illness and trauma on top of usual emergency visits.

OHSU is one of only two level one trauma centers in the state but can’t take in patients from other hospitals right now.

"We take care of a lot of complex patients all of those patients are also trying to come to us and we aren’t able to take those patients in right now so it’s a very challenging time for the emergency department as we try to take care of everyone having emergent medical conditions," Dr. Kea said.

OHA stressing that only people needing emergent care should go to the ER right now.

Dr. Kea said for things like dizziness or muscle aches, get to AC and try to cool off as much as possible, then call your primary doctor or urgent care if needed. If symptoms don’t go away or you’re feeling altered, chest pain or irregular heart beat, then go to the ER.

"The beginning of last weekend it wasn’t nearly as busy and we were surprised, wondering where is this heat-related illness but its gradually ticked up," Dr. Kea said. "I think it’s kind of worn on people and the longer amount of heat people have been exposed to they're getting more dehydration, more of the exposure."

And even though the rest of the week might seem much cooler than triple digits, it’s still hot and important to be careful.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


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