Coronavirus: Effects of Southern California heat wave could be amplified by COVID-19 outbreak

Southern California's second heat wave of the year entered its second day Wednesday, raising concerns over the impact of COVID-19 as threatening temperatures approach triple-digit territory.
The region's second heat wave of 2020 entered its second day Wednesday, raising concerns over the impact of COVID-19 as threatening temperatures approach triple-digit territory.

Health officials have warned the coronavirus outbreak could make the heat wave deadlier.

A heat advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday until 9 p.m. Thursday for much of the Southland - including beach cities, metropolitan L.A., downtown L.A., Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, the Santa Mountains Recreational Area, the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and Orange County.

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The effects of the heat wave could be worse this year than in years past due to the virus, with those most vulnerable to the heat at greater risk.

Temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees are expected near the coast and between 90 and 100 inland, with the valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties expected to be the hottest areas.

ABC7's Brianna Ruffalo said temperatures will continue to climb Thursday.

"Tomorrow, the hottest day of the week, where we could see some record breaking temperatures," she said.

Temperatures could linger into the evening, with some areas possibly staying above 70 degrees overnight, the National Weather Service warned.

"Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency.''

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With millions of Californians self-isolating as statewide coronavirus-related restrictions remain in effect, public health experts are warning about the increased dangers. Additionally, with a rising number of people out of work, more people may be reducing the use of their air conditioning.

Los Angeles County will open eight cooling centers around the area Wednesday to give residents who need it a place to escape the heat.

The centers will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and they will "operate in compliance with physical distancing and other safety criteria'' due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

The county cooling centers are located at in East Los Angeles, Azusa, Florence-Firestone, Sylmar, South Whittier, Altadena, Sun Village, and Burbank.

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Officials say the greatest concern is for low-income residents and seniors, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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