BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on and cases spike across the country, there are concerns among health officials about fatigue and complacency, which could lead to a further spread of the virus.

On Saturday, the Maryland Department of Health reported 796 new coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths.

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Hospitalizations and ICU beds were down, but the state’s positivity rate went up slightly to 3.04 percent.

 CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Nationwide, there were nearly 83,000 new cases on Friday, the highest daily case count since the pandemic began.

Health experts are concerned about fatigue as the pandemic continues. They say while many may be growing tired of taking steps to stop the spread, it’s more important than ever as many parts of the country start to see a drop in temperatures.

University of Maryland School of Medicine Professor Dr. Gregory Schrank says be prepared to wear masks for the next several months

“Without the ability to spend most of our day outdoors as the weather cools off, masking is really going to be crucial,” he said.

“Mask fatigue is absolutely real,” Dr. Schrank added. “That’s why I think it’s important, in addition to hand hygiene and maintaining social distance, that we find a mask that we like wearing and is comfortable.”

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He stresses that everyone wears a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth so that respiratory droplets that could spread the virus are contained. Also, check to see if it’s effective

“You can even just hold your hand out in front of your mask, exhale forcefully, see if you can feel any of your breath on your hand,” Dr. Schrank said.

Experts also say, if you can blow a candle out through your mask, it’s not protecting you or anyone else.

They say we’ll need to continue wearing a mask correctly and try to practice social distancing as cases start to rise.

“Over the course of the winter, we will likely see a sustained increase in COVID-19 activity across the State of Maryland, and we may be in the early phases of that right now,” Dr. Schrank said.

Although cases are on the rise across the country, former Baltimore City health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, said it doesn’t have to continue.

“That trajectory doesn’t have to happen,” she said. “It’s actually up to each of us with our individual actions.”

According to Johns Hopkins, Maryland has the 31st most cases per capita among the states.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff