Be Aware: Smoky Air Can Cause Symptoms Similar To COVID-19

Sep 8, 2020

Regional fires have filled the skies with smoke and particulates. Throughout the Willamette Valley and in spots along the central coast, air quality can range from unhealthy to hazardous.

Smoke and ash hang over Lane Community College off Hwy I-5 on Tuesday afternoon. Air quality in the Willamette Valley is "Very Unhealthy" and can cause COVID-19 like symptoms.
Credit Tiffany Eckert / KLCC

Lane County Public Health recommends staying indoors with windows closed and refraining from strenuous activity when outside.

Spokesperson Jason Davis warned poor air quality can cause symptoms that mimic those of COVID-19.

“Most commonly it’s the watery eyes, potentially difficulty breathing, an irritated throat and irritated nasal passageways,” he said. “So those are all things that can happen due to smoke in the air and this poor air quality. Because you are experiencing those symptoms doesn’t mean that you are necessarily coming down with COVID.”

Ash hangs hard on the windshield and visibility is low driving on 30th Avenue past Lane Community College in south Eugene.
Credit Tiffany Eckert

Davis said air quality is expected to remain poor for the rest of the week so don’t be surprised if symptoms persist. He added, if anyone feels they have been infected with the virus, testing is always available.

USPS delivers in hazy, smoky conditions in the south hills of Eugene on Tuesday.
Credit Tiffany Eckert