June 29 COVID-19 presser

Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan talks about the differences between COVID-19 and the flu Monday, June 29.

The Brazos County Health District (BCHD) gave the recent news regarding the coronavirus at a June 29 press conference.

As usual, Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan gave the most recent COVID-19 numbers to begin the conference. To date, there have been 1,943 positive cases, 821 recovered patients, 29 deaths and 19,651 total COVID-19 tests performed in the county. Currently there are 1,093 active cases and 34 hospitalizations. Below are the main takeaways from the conference.

Increase in cases and deaths in the last week

Sullivan said just in the past week, there have been four deaths and 683 reported positive cases. Of the additional cases, 36 percent were in the 18 to 24 age range. He also said local medical response systems are strained with the increase in cases. Sullivan also stressed that community spread is still a major problem, and said 72 percent of the reported cases since the last conference were the result of community spread. Hospitals are also at a 64 percent capacity average, and ICU beds are at 63 percent.

When a person is tested for COVID-19, they should receive a call with the results, Sullivan said. However, about 20 percent of those tested do not answer their calls. Sullivan said this may be due to the fact that the number may show up as an unknown number. Regardless, if no one answers, the BCHD leaves messages for every missed call. It is important to answer so health officials can determine if there is a chance of spread.

“We talked about this ‘box-in’ process at previous press conferences,” Sullivan said. “It only works if we get this information and we can find your potential contacts.”

Isolation vs. quarantine

There has been some confusion about the differences between self isolation and quarantine, according to Sullivan. He said isolation should be done if you have or think you may have contracted the virus. This means isolating yourself from the rest of the community.

“That isolation needs to be from the time [you] develop symptoms, for ten days,” Sullivan said. “For a full ten days after that time frame.”

Sullivan said the main difference is that one should quarantine for 14 days when you have been exposed to someone with the virus. Isolation is 10 days and for those with symptoms of the virus but are unsure as to whether they have been exposed or not.

COVID-19 vs Influenza

Sullivan said it is also important to note the major differences between the coronavirus and the seasonal flu, as the coronavirus has proven to be much more dangerous. Sullivan said the years with high numbers of flu cases do not compare to the number of COVID-19 cases he has seen since the outbreak.

“Lots of us have had flu before, or had our flu vaccinations,” Sullivan said. “Influenza does not have the ability to transmit through the population like COVID-19 has been able to do. We’re also realizing COVID-19 is more fatal than the flu.”

Local government

Judge Steve Smith with the 361st District Court said there have been no in-person jury trials since early March. Working with Governor Abbotts’ operating plan, local courts have been performing meetings and hearings via Zoom. Smith said in-person meetings began taking place again on June 1, accounting for health guidelines, such as social distancing and wearing a mask.

Smith said opening courts to hearings will involve some changes. Face protection will be required and social distancing measures will also be taken. The presiding judge will also be wearing a face shield. This procedure is available to select counties, including Brazos County.

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