At 12 p.m., Dr. Seth Sullivan with the Brazos County Health District (BCHD), spoke at a press conference about the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Brazos County.
At the March 17 press conference, Sullivan revealed the patient is a woman in her 20s, not associated with Texas A&M or Blinn College, who had recently returned from Spain. According to Sullivan, the woman was only in contact with three people before she went to healthcare professionals and was diagnosed. BCHD and the Texas Department of State Health Services are working together on this confirmed case to determine all those who came in contact with the patient to prevent the spread of the virus. Sullivan said the main goal is to protect those who are at risk and find any connections of people with the patient.
“The Brazos County Health District continues to coordinate efforts with the Texas Department of State Health Services as we have been throughout the entirety of this process,” Sullivan said. “We are conducting contact investigations as we speak.”
Sullivan said if you experience symptoms similar to the flu, especially high fever, to speak with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. However, the virus is more dangerous for certain demographics.
“COVID-19, in our experience thus far, has had a more severe outcome for those with vulnerabilities, those of advanced age,” Sullivan said. “In particular, we’re seeing people 65 years or older, people with medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, cancer or a weakened immune system are at higher risk.”
Sullivan said there is a high chance of recovery for those who do not fall into one of the aforementioned groups.
“For those who are generally in good health, those who don’t fit the criteria that I’ve just mentioned, in general have done very well with this,” Sullivan said. “Mild symptoms, perhaps a runny nose, a cough, sometimes a mild fever is the usual that we’ve been seeing.”
Sullivan said before the government says they can provide more tests, officials need to look more closely at the components of the test for the virus. He said it is unlikely that there can be tests for everyone because of the amount of materials, money and labor that must be put into the production of the tests.
“Lab testing is limited. It will be limited. We’re hearing things that testing will be available for everybody,” Sullivan said. “That would be great if that happens. I don’t think we can plan for that, certainly not right now. There is hope that there will be more testing capabilities available.”
A common theme among doctors’ comments is to use a common sense approach. This means reporting any symptoms to a doctor and self isolating. Sullivan said the woman who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 did exactly that, which very well may have kept the virus from spreading.
“She did all the right things,” Sullivan said. “I am grateful for her common sense, her calm common sense approach. Because of her diligence, she has spared many other potential contacts.”
Reporting early is the key to fighting the contagious nature of the virus, Sullivan said. The sooner the doctors know, the sooner they can help those in need.
“I like how early we are in this process,” Sullivan said. “I am very hopeful and optimistic that we can make an impact with the efforts that are outlined for us today.”
For more information on COVID-19 and how to keep yourself safe, visit www.cdc.gov.