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Tea Fire: Hospital and Health Update

News from Cottage Hospital’s Janet O’Neill


The Independent spoke with Cottage Hospital spokesperson Janet O’Neill, who said the facility has been able to accommodate all Tea Fire-related injuries so far. Fire-related activity has not affected the hospital’s operating room schedule.

The hospital has had 11 fire-related visits so far, including three civilian burn victims who have since been stabilized and then transported to burn facilities elsewhere. The injuries treated so far include one dog bite, one asthma attack, one instance of smoke inhalation, one damaged eye, one anxiety attack, and one person who suffered from smoke inhalation and an ember to the eye.

The Villa Riviera senior home, which is near the former St. Francis Hospital, has been evacuated and the 16 people who reside there are staying at Cottage Hospital.

Though Cottage Hospital has cautioned people to stay away from the hospital unless they are injured, they also want people not to hesitate to come if they truly do need medical attention.

A call to area Long’s Drugs locations indicated that they were out of the sort of facemasks that would block out harmful particulate matter, but Direct Relief International has pledged to distribute them at both a Montecito and Santa Barbara location. Furthermore, the masks can be obtained at San Marcos High School, where evacuees are staying. Finally, the County Department of Public Health has issued an air quality warning that will remain in effect through the weekend. “If you see or smell smoke in the air where you are, be cautious and use common sense to protect your family’s health. Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children, should limit time spent outdoors, and avoid outdoor exercise when high concentrations of dust and particles are in the air. If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to exposure to particles, including repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your health care provider. ”

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