Budget uncertainty pauses algal bloom testing at Utah Lake

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lincoln Beach at the southern end of Utah Lake was closed because of a toxic algal bloom on Friday, July 26, 2019.

Provo • Utah health and water quality officials will temporarily stop monitoring a lake for toxic algal blooms as a result of state funding uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state Division of Water Quality and Utah County Health Department will postpone the testing for Harmful Algal Blooms at Utah Lake until at least July 1, The Daily Herald reports.

In lieu of monitoring, officials encouraged visitors to the lake along Provo and neighboring towns to pay attention to signs warning of toxic algae.

The National Ocean Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Harmful Algal Blooms occur when algae grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds.

Human illness related to the blooms is rare but can be debilitating or fatal, the agency said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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