New data show a modest increase in emergency department admissions due to asthma and other respiratory problems.
Governor Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers today on the ongoing statewide response to air quality issues caused by wildfires in eastern Canada. Air quality in the New York City metropolitan area, Long Island, and Western New York is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive populations, while air quality in Central New York, the Lower Hudson Valley, Upper Hudson Valley, and Eastern Ontario is moderate.
“For more than a week, we have been sounding the alarm that the air quality problem is serious and poses a threat to the health and well-being of New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “Now, as conditions gradually improve and outdoor activities become safer in many parts of the state, it is critical that New Yorkers continue to be informed and take common-sense safety precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
According to the NYSDOH Electronic Syndrome Surveillance System, there were 147 asthma-related emergency department visits in New York hospitals (excluding New York City) on June 7, 2023, compared to an average of 80 during the five-day period from June 1 to June6 . Using data on “respiratory symptoms” reported on June 8 in Emergency Medical Services Response Data, a timely source of early warning, the Department of Health observed:
The statewide death rate per 100,000 increased by 17.8% on June 7 compared to the 5-day average from June 1 to June 5
For the New York metropolitan area, the increase was 28.4 percent, and for the Capital Region, it was 12.4 percent
Current levels in affected areas of New York State range from yellow to orange, the Department of Health Suggestions Necessary. Steps individuals can take to reduce risk include:
When the AQI is greater than 100, New Yorkers in vulnerable groups should avoid outdoor exertion and be aware of symptoms when exposed outdoors. Vulnerable individuals include those with cardiovascular disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, previous history of attached heart disease) or pulmonary disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as children under 18 years of age, 65 years of age and above adults.
When the AQI is greater than 150, all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous outdoor activity, and vulnerable groups should avoid outdoor exposure.
Pregnant people may also be more vulnerable and more prone to shortness of breath, and it is recommended to stay indoors when the AQI is greater than 150.
As unhealthy air conditions persist in your area, over the next few days, the Department of Health advises that any New Yorker experiencing symptoms or worsening symptoms, including those indicative of cardiac complications or symptoms of heart disease, should consult them doctor or seek immediate medical help. If you develop respiratory irritation symptoms (such as a cough) while outdoors, first go indoors to find cleaner air.
Health advisories for particulate air quality remain in place for Long Island, the New York City metro, and the Western New York region, at least through the end of the day. Particulate matter carried by wildfire winds in these areas is expected to be on the verge of higher concentration readings.
The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH) issue air quality health advisories when DEC meteorologists predict pollution levels, ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as a simple way to relate levels of different pollutants onto a scale, with higher AQI values indicating larger health problems.View the latest AQI forecast here.
The airstream is expected to continue sending the heaviest smoke to southern and western New York, with smoke conditions continuing in the southern and western parts of the state. The forecast for tomorrow has winds north-northwesterly and some smoke could move into the state later on Saturday.
In response to the wildfires in Canada, earlier this week, Governor Hochul announced Approximately 1 million high-quality N95-style masks are available to New Yorkers to help address air quality impacts. In New York City, the state quickly distributed hundreds of thousands of face masks throughout the day to commuters in major transportation hubs, in addition to parks and state elected officials. Counties and state legislatures delivered or pulled nearly 400,000 masks from state stockpiles for distribution, with more scheduled to be distributed today.
Recommended by Governor Hochul Outdoor school activities are suspended and air quality remains a concern. The governor also encouraged New Yorkers to postpone any outdoor activities in affected areas until conditions improve.
Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said“While overall conditions across the state are improving, we continue to remind people, especially those vulnerable to unhealthy air quality, to self-monitor for symptoms and to stay home if the air quality in their area is considered unhealthy. Vulnerable Harm People with heart or lung disease, as well as the very young, people over 65, and pregnant women should reduce exposure and minimize physical activity when outdoors. If susceptible groups must outside, they we encourage the use of high-quality, well-fitting masks.”
Additionally, the Governor announced full refunds for those who booked to visit DEC or Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) campgrounds or day-use areas but wished to cancel their reservations due to air quality concerns. OPRHP runs 68 campsites There are 8,148 campsites, 967 cabins and cottages, and a lighthouse. DEC manages 52 campgrounds At the Adirondack and Catskill parks, more than one million visitors camp nights each season. Visitors wishing to cancel on the day of arrival should call their campsite directly. Visitors who wish to cancel their reservation prior to their arrival date should contact ReserveAmerica Customer Service at 1-800-777-9644. Campgrounds in New York State remain open and reservations are available for anyone who chooses to camp this weekend.
State Department Environmental Protection Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC’s campgrounds and day-use areas offer a variety of outdoor activities and experiences that attract visitors year after year. Given the current air quality concerns, we want to make sure we keep these customers happy and will refund any cancellation fees this weekend. Our experts will continue to monitor air quality on a daily basis to help keep the public informed.”
state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “As New Yorkers continue to be exposed to unhealthy air quality due to the Canadian wildfires, I’m glad Governor Hochul has offered the opportunity to refund state camping reservations. There’s a bright future ahead for those who want to stay home this weekend Enjoy NYC’s incredible campgrounds in the summer.”
yesterday, Governor Hochul announces enhanced measures Protect horses at New York State racetracks ahead of the Belmont Stakes as smoke and haze from the ongoing Canadian wildfires continue to affect air quality across the state.
Tips for New Yorkers to stay safe:
limit time outdoors to reduce exposure to smoke
closing windows of houses and buildings
avoid strenuous activity
Outdoor activities for all groups should be limited or minimized as much as possible, as those with asthma, allergies or other medical conditions may be affected.
avoid prolonged exposure
People with health weaknesses such as cardiovascular or lung diseases, pregnant women should also
For those who must travel outdoors for extended periods of time, a well-fitting, high-quality mask can help reduce exposure.
Governor Hochul has been in contact with Canadian officials and yesterday Team of seven DEC Forest Rangers announced are being deployed to help contain wildfires. Over the next two weeks, they will travel to Quebec to lead a team of 15 wildland fire experts from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, in addition to a DEC ranger currently leading the Nova Scotia Sheriff’s firefighting efforts. New York State often deploys trained wildland firefighters to help fight fires as part of interstate and international firefighting compacts.