April 20 COVID-19 presser

College Station Mayor Karl Mooney speaks Monday, April 20, 2020, during a press conference at the Brazos County Health District.

Status updates on the presence of the coronavirus in Brazos County, as well as guidance on staying healthy were given at the most recent Brazos County Health District (BCHD) press conference on April 20.

Brazos County health authority Dr. Seth Sullivan, Mayor Andrew Nelson of Bryan, Mayor Karl Mooney of College Station and County Judge Duane Peters attended the conference. Sullivan began the conference with the latest statistics, starting with today’s report of no additional COVID-19 patients. 

To date, the BCHD has confirmed 170 total cases of COVID-19, 57 recoveries and 99 active cases. Eleven COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, 16 total deaths have been reported and 2,853 total COVID-19 tests have been performed in Brazos County. Below are some main takeaways from the press conference.

  1. The CDC has developed a new COVID-19 test

Sullivan began the conference by speaking about serology testing. According to cdc.gov, serology tests look for the presence of antibodies, which are proteins that respond to infections. Sullivan said these tests are important in detecting infections with few or no symptoms and may take two weeks to yield a positive result.

Sullivan said the Brazos County Health District is not currently doing serology testing, but that individual decisions can be made by health care entities in town.

“[The CDC] is very explicit about [serology] that it has not gone through the same validation processes that we would typically have for antibody tests,” Sullivan said. “We have had the chance to review with our lab directors the instructions and labels on this test and it is a reasonable task, but there is just so much we don’t know.”

Sullivan said Brazos County Urgent Care is currently using serology and is sharing data with the BCHD.

  1. Clusters

Sullivan said a cluster is defined as when two or more individuals contract COVID-19 from a common person.

“[Clusters] are expected in this contagious disease to occur in those who are closely working together or living together,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said clusters seen by the BCHD have been with roommates, family members and family members. Forty nine percent of the 170 positive cases can be attributed to clusters.

Additionally, Sullivan said clusters are not in not expected to occur in a public space.

  1. Gov. Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas

Peters spoke about Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to begin reopening non-essential businesses, but reminded citizens to continue social distancing.

“This will allow non-essential businesses to do much of what essential businesses have been doing,” Peters said. “As we begin to look at maybe relaxing some of the rules we have in place, I want everyone to use common sense, be responsible and still do social distancing.”

Nelson added that businesses should be ready to prepare in order to  main social distancing while mentioning the Brazos County initiative to reopen businesses.

“Operation Restart takes the businesses and we use the same time that the hospitals have used to reorganize themselves and prepare,” Nelson said. “Our businesses need to reorganize themselves in order to operate while social distancing.”

Editor’s note: Operation Restart is the name of Brazos County leader’s plan to safely reopen businesses. For more information on this plan, read our April 13 press conference coverage.


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