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Sullivan: 'Proud' of Brazos County response to coronavirus, but still room to improve

Sullivan: 'Proud' of Brazos County response to coronavirus, but still room to improve

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Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan said at a Monday afternoon press briefing that he gave the county a B-minus grade overall for its response to the COVID-19 crisis. He praised the residents and businesses that he saw taking health and safety practices seriously over the weekend, he said.

“We definitely have some areas to improve, there is no doubt about it, but overall, I’m proud that folks are taking this seriously and looking out for one another,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he was heartened to see the majority of those who attended local protest demonstrations Saturday and Sunday wearing masks. He attended Sunday’s Black Lives Matter B/CS prayer and protest event in Bryan, which drew several hundred people; he said that with some exceptions, many in attendance also maintained physical distancing recommendations, which he said he found encouraging.

“We have this desire to be together, especially at a time of mourning and of confusion and of chaos and so much frustration in our community,” Sullivan said. “And of course, from the public safety perspective, you always want to make sure that there’s not violence and that you’re keeping people safe — and certainly there was none of that yesterday. I commend those who peacefully come together in solidarity as a community, and we have that need.”

Brazos County health officials reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the number of active cases to 285 and the overall case total in the county to 487. Nineteen Brazos County residents have died after being treated for COVID-19. The last death was reported May 8.

There were 15 Brazos County residents hospitalized Monday, which is the same number as Sunday and the highest number of hospitalizations since the coronavirus pandemic began with the county’s first reported case on March 17. 

Chad Wootton, associate vice president of external affairs for Texas A&M’s provost office, said at the press briefing that this summer’s enrollment at A&M is higher than any previous summer, with an entirely online course offering due to the pandemic.

“We think this is young people taking advantage of the flexibility, and in some cases making up for the uncertainty of the spring semester,” Wootton said.

The university and system recently released plans outlining their return to in-person learning for the fall 2020 semester, including online/in-person hybrid course offerings and some classes on Saturdays. Fall classes at A&M’s flagship campus will begin Aug. 19 — earlier than originally scheduled — and will end before Thanksgiving.

Wootton characterized the fall enrollment numbers as “very good” thus far, with the incoming freshman class looking “large” as of May 1.

In Brazos County, 183 people have recovered from COVID-19, which is the same as Sunday. One person was discharged from the hospital. Health officials said Monday that 8,121 tests for COVID-19 have been administered by Brazos County health care providers, which is the same as Sunday’s total.

Sullivan said 49 of Brazos County’s total cases are tied to Sanderson Farms, with 20 considered active.

Regarding drive-thru testing, Sullivan said the results have been coming back more slowly than he would like. The testing positivity rate was 3.49% the week of May 16 and rose to 4.03% the week of May 23. Sullivan said the hope and expectation going forward is that as the number of tests performed increases, the COVID-19 positivity rate will decrease. 

Additionally, Sullivan encouraged people to engage their health care providers and maintain care even as the pandemic, and accompanying public safety practices, continue.

“Do not put your medical needs on hold, whether it’s an active health concern, a chronic health condition or a routine checkup,” Sullivan said. “If you have a medical need, we really need you to get seen.”

Monday’s update included data indicating that 48.3% of cases in the county are among Hispanic or Latino individuals. Today, 31.2% of cases are among white individuals and 11.5% among black individuals, with 7.4% listed as unknown and 1.6% as some other racial identity.

Two zip codes — 77803 and 77845 — report 152 and 112 total cases, respectively. Four zip codes in the county — 77843, 77862, 77866 and 77881 — do not have any cases reported, according to health district data.

Brazos Valley

Washington County reported 203 total cases on Monday, 106 of them active.

Grimes County reported no new cases Monday. The county’s total number of cases remains at 122.

Burleson County had 25 reported cases Monday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Milam County reported 29 confirmed cases Monday.

Leon County reported 10 cases. Robertson County reported nine overall cases. Madison County reported eight cases.

Texas

The Department of State Health Services reported 64,880 cases, with 1,678 fatalities as of Monday. An estimated 43,338 people have recovered.


Alex Miller contributed to this story.

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