• Hurricane Laura has weakened after it made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane
  • It's approach, however, led to mass evacuations with thousands of people in shelters and hotels
  • Officials in Texas and Louisiana fear a new surge in COVID-19 infections due to evacuations

Louisiana and Texas anxiously look forward to resuming mass COVID-19 testing interrupted when Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana Thursday close to the coastal town of Cameron. There are also lingering fears evacuation shelters in both states, especially Louisiana, might become the epicenters of new super spreader events.

The 150 miles per hour storm has since ripped through Louisiana, blowing down buildings, toppling trees and power lines and killing at least six people. Its ferocity, however, was reduced to that of a Category 1 tropical storm as it headed for Arkansas. Laura is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana as measured by maximum sustained winds.

With Laura on its way out, Louisiana and Texas have to contend with the effects of packing hundreds of people in close quarters in shelters and hotels. COVID-19 continues its resurgence across both states: with 626,000 cases, Texas is the second hardest hit state in the U.S. while Louisiana with 146,000 cases is ranked eleventh.

Officials in both states fear a new surge in COVID-19 infections following Laura's rampage. The resumption of interrupted testing will confirms any surge but results will take weeks to confirm.

“We’re basically going to be blind for this week because we’ll have to discontinue much of our community-based testing,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said during a press conference.

He said among the measures the state took to prevent the virus from spreading even more among evacuees was sheltering many of these people in hotels and motels rather than in crowded shelters.

Edwards is concerned any super spreader event linked to Laura will undo a lot of the success the state has achieved in corralling the coronavirus' spread.

“We’ve got fewer people in the hospital with COVID now then we’ve had in the last couple of months, but we’ve had the most cases per capita in the country," said Edwards to MSNBC. "We have significant community spread, and we are very mindful that this storm is gonna complicate our efforts to get the virus under control."

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott (R) also had the same concerns about new super spreader events.

"Remember: Just because a hurricane is coming to Texas, does not mean COVID-19 either has or is going to leave Texas," he said at a news conference Tuesday. "COVID-19 is going to be in Texas throughout the course of the hurricane."

Data from the Johns Hopkins University reports 5,863,363 COVID-19 cases in the United States and 180,595 deaths as of of Aug. 27, 9:28 p.m. ET.

Evacuees wait to board a bus in Lake Charles, Louisiana, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Laura
Evacuees wait to board a bus in Lake Charles, Louisiana, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Laura GETTY IMAGES / JOE RAEDLE