Local health and government officials gathered at a Brazos County Health District (BCHD) press conference to discuss the presence of the coronavirus in the county.
To begin the conference, Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan updated the viewers on cases of COVID-19. Sullivan said there has been a total of 487 positive cases, 183 recovered patients, 19 deaths and 8,121 total tests for COVID-19 in Brazos County. Currently, there are 285 active cases and 15 hospitalizations.
1. Local businesses and nursing homes
Sanderson Farms, a poultry farming company, has received much attention in the last few weeks for its 49 total cases of COVID-19, 20 of which are active. Sullivan said the BCHD is in close collaboration with Sanderson Farms to ensure that the cases COVID-19 with their employees stay contained.
Sullivan also reminded viewers to be careful when visiting the more vulnerable population in Brazos County, mainly the elderly.
2. Medical needs and spread of the virus
Sullivan encouraged anyone who is unwell to seek medical attention, especially if they have been waiting to see a doctor due to concerns about COVID-19. He also said that BCHD is doing their best to perform contact tracing, in which the spread of the virus can be tracked. As BCHD has said before, the virus is most commonly spread through droplets, which is why it is beneficial to wear a mask. Sullivan said most studies on masks show they are preventative in spreading disease by blocking the entrance or excretion of droplets whether it is from talking, sneezing or coughing.
3. Local protests in Bryan-College Station
In the past few days, people have gathered in the streets to protest racial injustice. Sullivan said he attended the protest on May 31, and was pleased to see many protesters wearing masks and distancing. While he does recognize the desire for the community to come together in this time of mourning, he encourages everyone to do so safely.
“There were some areas there where there was some crowding off to the corners and I don’t recommend that,” Sullivan said. “The closer that we’re together for a longer period of time, the more likely we’re going to transmit the virus.”
4. Texas A&M classes
Following President Michael K. Young’s announcement on May 29 regarding the plans for the upcoming fall semester, Associate Vice President for External Affairs Chad Wootten said there are two factors going into the planning of semesters to come; respect and responsibility.
“We all look at the messages that have come out over the weekend,” Wootten said. “It’s about that healthy amount of respect for each other and our personal responsibility for ourselves, our actions and our reactions.”
Wootten also said this summer’s enrollment has been the highest the university has seen, even though all summer classes are online. There is also currently a large number of enrollments for the coming fall semester, which will see some major adaptations to campus life according to Wootten. He said their initial measurement of student enrollment will come from new student conferences, as well as attendance in the first few weeks of the semester.
“Everybody right now I think is full steam ahead, attempting to have the same ‘come together’, ‘be back together in the fall’ mentality, recognizing that once they get here it’s going to take a heavy amount of respect and personal responsibility to prevent us from having to further change or backtrack to what we had to do this spring,” Wootten said.