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Triple-digit heat is on its way to Southern California

Temperatures were expected to reach triple digits this weekend in the region’s inland areas and valleys, which had at least one health official concerned about how the heat may impact the spread of the coronavirus.

It was already beginning to heat up on Thursday, July 9, but each day was expected to get warmer leading to peak temperatures Saturday and Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologists said. Some places in the Inland Empire, such as Hemet and Lake Elsinore, were expected to reach 106 degrees over the weekend and in the San Fernando Valley temperatures could reach 103 degrees.

“It looks like it’s just under the records (for heat)”, meteorologist David Sweet said.

Inland Orange County was expected to be in the mid-90s and coastal areas in that county, and Los Angeles County, was expected to be in the 80s. Coastal area low temperatures were expected to be in the 60s and in the 70s for more inland areas.

“Nighttime lows are not going to provide a lot of relief or humidity,” meteorologist Miguel Miller said.

The hot temperatures have Dr. Victor Waters, chief medical officer at St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino, concerned about how that will impact the spread of the coronavirus. Because some people find the face coverings uncomfortable, the hot temperatures could lead to fewer people wanting to use them, Waters said.

To avoid that from happening, face coverings or masks that have thick fabric is probably not the best option in the heat, he said.

“If it’s black, it’s going to absorb the heat a lot more than a lighter mask,” Waters said. “So color matters, people really have to use their common sense — lighter in color, lighter in weight.”

Ideally, a surgical mask would be the best option in a hot environment, such as the kind that medical personnel use regularly in hot operating rooms, Waters said.

Waters also cautioned the hot temperatures in general, especially for those at higher risk of heatstroke, such as children and older people.

“I have two challenges, a virus that can really hurt you,” he said, “And the heat that can really hurt you — in fact, more immediately it can cause death, from heatstroke.”

Waters and the meteorologists recommend staying indoors with air conditioning if possible and to avoid outdoor activity during the heat.

Source: Orange County Register

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