The Oregon Health Authority said this week that about 10% of emergency room visits across the state are connected to the ongoing wildfires charring the West, KATU reports.
- The officials said 10% of visits are for asthma-like symptoms connected to the fires.
- The wildfires have created a thick smoke and haze throughout the area, making it harder for people to breathe.
- “Even in some places where there may be limited improvement at some times, that means dropping from one bad air category to the next worst category. We’re seeing that play out with health impacts to our community,” said Gabriela Goldfarb, environmental public health section manager for the Oregon Health Authority, according to KATU.
Multiple people remain at risk from the wildfire smoke, including people 65 years old and older, those with heart and respiratory conditions, pregnant women and children, according to KATU.
Health officials warned wildfires can create symptoms similar to COVID-19 — only the latter includes diarrhea, chills and a fever.
The bigger picture:
Wildfires continue to burn through the western United States, hitting Oregon and California rather hard.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said recently that more than 1 million acres of land — over 1,500 square miles — has burned in the state alone, The New York Times reports.
- “I spoke with the president about 6:15 last night he either was on Air Force One or getting onto Air Force One,” Brown said, according to KVAL. “I explained to him that the situation on the ground was extremely dire. He said you have all of our support please let us know what you need and God bless Oregon.”