As Laura approaches, Texas reports 229 new COVID-19 deaths

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Military personnel wait to receive hurricane evacuees at the Mesquite Reception Center set up for hurricane evacuees in Mesquite, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Thousands of Gulf Coast residents fled inland from an approaching storm deemed “unsurvivable” by forecasters, heeding warnings from leaders in two states, but leaving some without help as available space in hotels and shelters filled quickly. (Lynda M. González/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As Texas braced for Hurricane Laura, state officials said there were 229 newly reported deaths from the coronavirus and 5,045 newly reported cases. As people evacuated from the upper Texas coast on Wednesday, emergency officials have been urging them to take safeguards against the virus as well. Laura strengthened Wednesday into a Category 4 hurricane, which can cause damage so catastrophic that power outages may last for months in places. The number of COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals has continued to drop and stood at 4,806 patients Wednesday.