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Maryland reports first cold-related death of 2020 winter season

Maryland health officials reported Wednesday the first death of a state resident this winter weather season due to “cold-related illness.”

The victim, a woman in her 60s or 70s, lived in Baltimore, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Health. Last year, the state saw 50 people die due to cold-related illnesses, which includes conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite, health officials said.

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“As temperatures continue to drop, Marylanders are urged to stay vigilant and to take precautions to limit their exposure to cold,” said state health Acting Secretary Dennis R. Schrader.

The death comes as the state continues to weather the devastating impacts of the coronavirus, which tends to spread easily in indoor settings and in large groups. Indoor congregate settings such as homeless shelters, detention centers and nursing homes have all experienced outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The pandemic has also wreaked havoc upon certain sectors of the economy, making it difficult for some people to pay their bills and stay in their homes.

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Health officials urged Marylanders to use caution when indoors by wearing masks and staying socially distant from others. Those who go outside should wear multiple layers and insulate the toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and the tip of the nose.

Those in need of warming centers are encouraged to reach out to their local health department or call 2-1-1.

The National Weather Service forecast a low of 33 degrees on Wednesday night for the Baltimore area as some parts of the country see snow showers. Temperatures should warm up here starting Thursday, with a high of 60 degrees predicted on Sunday.

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