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Doctors warn about days of intense heat

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jul 19, 2020

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — The high temperatures have people trying to beat the heat, while staying safe from COVID-19.

Masks are still required in stores and on public transportation in Maryland, and more and more people are wearing them outdoors too.

While COVID-19 is still a threat, Dr. Clifford Mitchell, director of environmental health at the Maryland Department of Health, warns wearing a mask outdoors has its own risks.

"Wearing a mask increases your body temperature. It increasing the work your heart and lungs have to do and you have to be very careful that you don’t overheat just because you’re wearing a mask so it’s even more important to stay apart from people and if you have to be outside, it’s probably better just to stay farther apart from people and not necessarily wear a mask," said Mitchell.

He recommends staying at home whenever possible and staying hydrated. He also recommends safely taking advantage of cooling centers if needed.

"What we don’t want people to do is stay out in the heat because they are afraid of COVID because the heat can kill you just as easily and in some cases more easily than COVID," said Mitchell.

Anne Arundel County Police have designated four district station community rooms as cooling centers, open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Tuesday.

Baltimore City will open up senior centers at cooling centers on Monday as well during the Code Red Extreme Heat Alert.

Masks are required at the cooling centers.

It’s recommended that you call ahead to make sure there is space at your preferred location and health officials say you should not go if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.