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States Respond to COVID-19: Weathering a Hurricane During a Pandemic

As Hurricane Laura tore through Texas and Louisiana, both states grappled with the devastating effects of the hurricane amid ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19. The pandemic has made it significantly more difficult to follow general hurricane preparedness procedures and protect vulnerable residents.

To avoid having large gatherings of evacuees in shelters, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) booked about 2,000 hotel rooms for families who need to evacuate their homes and safely quarantine away from others. The state has made an arrangement with the federal government to be reimbursed for the hotel-related expenses. Further, the governor has instructed all buses transporting evacuees to give out masks and sanitizer.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recruited buses and staff equipped with personal protective equipment to help move people out of the state’s coastal areas. Once the buses made it to intake centers, evacuees received instruction on where to shelter (mostly in hotels across Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas) and were screened with temperature and symptom checks before relocating.

We encourage all members to visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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