HKPR District Health Unit Advises Issues Warning

Consider reducing strenuous outdoor activities if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Port Hope, ON (June 7, 2023) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) would like to advise residents of the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County that the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) has now moved to high risk due to smoke from ongoing forest fires.

“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,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit. “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.”

Public health officials refer to the MECP’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), which uses data from 39 air monitoring stations that collect real-time air pollution data and report on key pollutants that are indicators of overall outdoor air quality. The AQHI hourly values and daily forecasts are calculated and produced by ECCC and posted hourly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The AQHI table below shows the health risk associated with the air pollution we breathe presented on a scale of 1 to 10+ with four health risk categories. Each category also provides direction on health measures for ‘at risk’ individuals and the general population.

By taking these precautions, you can help protect your health and minimize the risks associated with wildfire smoke events, for more information on wildfires visit hkpr.on.ca/WildFires.

Health Measures for the General Population
Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Health Measures for the At Risk Population
Individuals with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant women, and those who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

  • Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
  • Improve your air quality by changing your furnace filters.
  • Find out if you are at risk

More Public Health Information
The HKPR District Health Unit encourages residents and visitors to follow the Air Quality Health Index by visiting the AQHI webpage, on the WeatherCan app and on the Weather Alerts page. For further information please refer to our Wildfires and Air Quality webpage.

Media release