A day after roaring ashore as a hurricane, Hanna lashed the Texas Gulf Coast on Sunday with high winds and drenching rains that destroyed boats, flooded streets, and knocked out power across a region already reeling from a surge in coronavirus cases, the AP reports. Downgraded to a tropical storm, Hanna hovered over the US-Mexico border with winds near 50 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It was expected to unload as much as 18 inches of rain on parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico. Border communities whose health care systems were already strained by COVID-19 cases—with some patients being airlifted to larger cities—found themselves grappling with Hanna.
A community building known as the "Dome" in the border town of Mercedes was set aside for evacuees who had tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus. Across the region, shelters were also opened in hotels, schools, and gyms. Henry Van De Putte, a Red Cross official, said the organization would open more shelters with reduced capacity to ensure social distancing. People seeking refuge will undergo temperature checks, and a medical professional will be assigned to each location, he said. He emphasized that people should not delay seeking help because of the virus. "Yes, coronavirus provides risk, but so does floodwater, so does not having electricity, so does not having required medications," he said. “We're doing everything we can do possible to make it a safe environment."
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