200+ hospitalized in Chattanooga due to wildfire issues

Wildfires raging across East Tennessee have been especially problematic for the health of people in the Chattanooga area.

The Tennessee Department of Health reports more than 200 patients have been hospitalized in Chattanooga for shortness of breath or breathing difficulties related to the circle of wildfires surrounding the city. 

UT Medical Center in Knoxville said its seen an increase, but nothing dramatic. 

“We are seeing an increase in the number of patients presenting with shortness of breath. It is not a dramatic increase but is definitely an increase in volume,” Karen Pryor, Director of Emergency and Critical Care Services said. 

Children's Hospital said it's also seen an increase in respiratory-related patients. 

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert remains in effect for Wednesday covering Knoxville, the Great Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 67 active fires across the state, including 15 new fires in the last 24 hours. 

TEMA warns that relief from the drought and wildfire threat "is not imminent as weather forecasts are not showing any significant precipitation in Tennessee through the remainder of 2016."

A regional burn ban is in place for 51 East Tennessee counties. 


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