More people died in Central Okanagan in 2020 than any other year

Most deaths in single year

More people died in the Central Okanagan last year than in any other year on record.

Recent data released by the B.C. government shows 2,071 people died in the Central Okanagan local health area in 2020, a 7.2 per cent increase from the year prior. The year with the next most deaths in the region was in 2017, when 2,016 people died.

While total deaths are expected to increase as the population grows in the Central Okanagan, year-over-year population growth is only about 1.6 per cent in the region.

While the data doesn't provide a detailed look at how these 2,071 people died last year, the province was, and remains, in the middle of two public health crises.

In the first 11 months of 2020, 53 people in Kelowna died from an illicit drug overdose. While data from December has not yet been released, it looks like 2020 will be the second most deadly year for drug overdoses ever.

Additionally, 28 people across the Interior Health region died of COVID-19 in 2020. It's unclear how many of these deaths occurred in the Central Okanagan though. Provincewide, 901 people died of COVID-19 in 2020.

The Southern Okanagan local health area also saw a record-breaking year for deaths in 2020, with 356 – up 25 per cent from the year before. Twelve residents at Oliver's McKinney Place died from COVID-19 in 2020. Elsewhere in the Interior did not see the same record number of deaths last year though. 

December 2020 saw the second most deaths in a single month in the Central Okanagan ever, with 203. The only month on record where more people died in the region was January 2017, when 233 people died.

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