Utah Doctors Concerned About Increased Risk Of COVID-19 Spread Due To Smoky Air

Aug 7, 2021, 10:36 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah doctors called it dangerously unfortunate — this weekend’s wave of wildfire pollution that moved in at the same time as a coronavirus surge.

Dr. Petronella Adomako, infectious disease specialist at McKay-Dee Hospital, told KSL-TV that they are seeing more cases of COVID-19 in younger patients and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Yes, it is concerning because when you have all this particulate material in the air, it can cause irritation of the airways. And when your airways are irritated, it predisposes to super-imposed infection, and that can be viral infection or bacterial infection. So yes, I would be concerned about a higher incidence of probability of one acquiring COVID,” said Adomako.

Medical specialists know periods of air pollution also increase the risk of other things like heart attack and stroke.

Utah’s hospitals are currently caring for 375 patients with COVID-19, and intensive care unit beds are 80% full, with 164 critical COVID-19 patients and others.

And this comes as Utah emergency room doctors said they are seeing an uptick in those coming to the ER for pollution and respiratory issues.

“We know our staff in hospitals are getting overwhelmed,” said Adomako. “It’s becoming distressing to see very sick people in the hospital. (Our doctors and nurses) are becoming overburdened.”

A number of sports teams and public swimming pools shut down practice and closed their doors on Friday due to the hazardous air.

One of those public swimming pools was the Lehi City Outdoor pool.

Melanie Hansen with Lehi City Recreation said it will remain closed to the general public through the weekend.

The Eagle Mountain Baseball Association also canceled their conditioning classes, scrimmage games and umpire training Friday night due to the polluted air.

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Utah Doctors Concerned About Increased Risk Of COVID-19 Spread Due To Smoky Air