Members of the Brazos County Health District (BCHD) as well as local government officials gathered to discuss the current news regarding community spread of COVID-19.
At a press conference on March 20, the BCHD confirmed a fifth case of a man in his 20s with travel history. However, a sixth case of COVID-19 in Brazos County was confirmed as the result of community spread, as this individual does not have recent travel history.
Dr. Seth Sullivan said BCHD is currently performing “contact investigations” to determine if any COVID-19 positive individuals could have spread the disease.
“We have a gentleman in his 30s who has tested positive for COVID-19, significantly,” Sullivan said. “This gentleman does not have a travel history. We also have another case of a gentleman in his 20s who does have a travel history.”
Sullivan said the nature of a contact investigation is finding people who have had close, personal contact with any infected individuals, to determine if any of their contacts are at risk. The investigations for all six confirmed cases are ongoing.
“A contact investigation is already underway,” Sullivan said. “The way that this works is we are in touch with the patient, the patient finds out the patient is positive, and we go through a detailed history to identify who the patient was around and the timeline. We try to figure out when the patient is contagious, when the patient is most likely to transmit and we look for significant contact.”
Sullivan said it is important for people to take care of themselves and take the necessary precautions to prevent the disease from spreading. Not every person who experiences symptoms is able to get a test for COVID-19 right away.
“Although we say that there are tests available, and we see these numbers, we have to remember that in the real world there are people that have to run these tests, and there are constraints in getting the resources to do those,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said people should support each other through this difficult time and encourage each other to stay home. He also said the use of gloves and masks is not as effective as people think, and there are less and less of those supplies for those who actually need them such as the doctors that are caring for those infected.
“The gloves and the masks that we wear become contaminated wherever we are, whoever is around,” Sullivan said. “It’s really just about effectiveness. But further, we have a national, really global shortage of these materials. These materials are essential for those on the front lines.”
Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson, also present at the press conference, said the local heath and government organizations are working together to assist each other and the citizens of the county.
“With the escalation to the proof of community spread, which we all understood was happening whether we had testing or not,” Nelson said. “We will certainly be asking the health department for their expertise on how to combat the spread of this virus, so that we can make this a shorter term public health crisis.”
Sullivan said the patients have been obedient to the requests of the doctors regarding personal health and limited contact, as well as staying home.
“To my knowledge, right now during this press conference, they are all well,” Sullivan said. “I’m anxious to hear about them, I want to ensure that they’re doing well. We have calls going out to them, obviously our prayers, our thoughts, everything that we can support them with we do.”