The Brazos County Health Department (BCHD) hosted a press conference to discuss the latest updates on the coronavirus on May 11.
Brazos County health authority Dr. Seth Sullivan broke down the numbers of COVID-19 to begin the conference. To date, there are 120 recovered patients, 140 active cases, four patients hospitalized, 18 deaths and 4,349 total tests have been performed in the county. The information from the press conference was presented in both English and Spanish.
1. Ensuring health and safety
Sullivan said people should keep up the basic steps to stay safe such as washing hands regularly and avoiding touching your face. Sullivan said even though the health district has learned more about the transmission of the virus, he does not think the county has peaked, so it is important to take care of yourself.
Carla Castillo with KBTX joined the conference to further elaborate on the preventative measures that everyone should be taking. These measures include disinfecting surfaces in homes, avoiding large gatherings and only sending one person from each household to run essential errands. Castillo also said it is important to report any confirmed cases around you to the health district so that they may determine those who are at risk.
“It is important to share this information with the health district because they want to be able to contact anyone you may have been in contact with so that we can let people know so that we can stop and prevent further spread,” Castillo said.
2. Texas A&M working on vaccine
Sullivan said the Texas A&M Health Science Center is currently trying to gather medical professionals in a phase four medical trial. In this trial the Health Science Center has been working with the BCG vaccine, a drug commonly used as a tuberculosis vaccine.
3. Operation Restart
Sullivan said that all businesses that wish to reopen must agree to a recovery ready pledge, which states the certain precautions that must be followed in order to keep the employees and customers safe and healthy. Businesses that have done this and been approved for reopening have received a recovery ready kit for display and are encouraged to do so. The purpose of displaying this kit is to show to customers that these businesses are safe to enter.
4. The essential workforce and personal rights
Lawyer Daniel Hernandez spoke at the press conference to discuss the weight of the virus on different groups in Brazos County. He first focused on the effects COVID-19 has had on the Hispanic community. Hernandez said he was shocked to learn that a majority of the positive cases since April 26 were from Hispanic individuals, even though only about 25 percent of the population of Brazos County is Hispanic. He said he was also concerned about the lack of proactiveness in some of the workforce.
“I know that a lot of the workers are essential workers,” Hernandez said. “They work in service jobs, they're working on the front lines, they’re dealing with people. Unfortunately I’ve seen many of those workers without masks or gloves and it’s very concerning.”
Hernadez said with rights comes responsibility. He said it is the responsibility of the workers and customers alike to wear masks and other sanitary items, regardless of whether or not it is convenient.