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Air quality index now set at high risk in Kawartha Lakes, Durham Region

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES/DURHAM: Local health units are warning about a recent change in air quality, due to forest fires.

On Wednesday, June 7th, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit announced the Air Quality Health Index was moved to ‘High Risk’ in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County.

“The current smoke plumes, from forest fires throughout Ontario and Quebec, are leading to worsening air quality, moving the air quality health index to high risk,” local medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking explained, in a statement. “For those who may be at risk, due to other health reasons, we are advising you to please prioritize your health by reducing your exposure.”

The health unit is asking the general public to “reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.” The Durham Region

The Durham Health Department made a similar statement. “Durham Region is currently under a special air quality statement, as issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. A special air quality statement is issued when the air quality is forecast to be high risk for one to two hours, or more. Current conditions indicate, the air quality level is at a 7, which is considered high risk. If time must be spent outdoors, a well-fitted respirator-type mask (e.g., certified N95 or equivalent respirator) which does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help to reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke.”

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