May 26 COVID-19 Presser

Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan, right, holds an Operation Restart sign while speaking at a press conference Tuesday, May 26, 2020, beside American Sign Language interpreter Sherri Roberts.

The Brazos County Health District (BCHD) held a press conference on May 26 to discuss the latest developments of the coronavirus.

On May 23, BCHD confirmed the 19th death due to COVID-19 — a female patient in her 80s. Brazos County health authority Dr. Seth Sullivan updated the viewers with information on the current state of the virus in the county. To date, there have been 444 cases, 175 recovered patients, 19 deaths and 7,085 total tests performed in the county. There are currently 250 active cases and five hospitalizations.

1. Contact tracing and Operation Restart

Sullivan has referenced the importance of contact tracing in many past conferences and this was no different. He said reporting any symptoms coinciding with those of COVID-19 is essential to boxing in the virus. The more positive cases being confirmed, the easier it is for the health department to determine where the clusters of cases are, and prevent any spread from them.

A recent trouble Sullivan said he has seen is that people can test positive for weeks after the first test. He said he has seen people test positive from six to eight weeks from the initial examination. As well as this, he said there have been instances of presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases. The first is when a person exhibits symptoms of the virus before a test comes back positive, and the second is the absence of any symptoms with a positive test result.

Regarding Operation Restart, businesses can register for “Recovery Ready” kits and submit their pledge stating that they have taken every precaution to ensure the health of the staff and customers. As proof of the pledge, the registered businesses can receive a number of displays, such as a placard or a yard sign, to reassure customers that their business is safe.

2. Clusters in the county

Sanderson Farms, a poultry farming company, has received much attention recently for its outbreak of cases in the facility. A total of 41 cases of the virus have been confirmed, 27 of which are currently active.

Another cluster found in Brazos County was at the Parc at Traditions, an assisted living facility in Bryan. The facility announced on May 23 that all residents and employees were tested for COVID-19 on May 19. Of the 191 tests performed, 45 were positive; of those, 34 were residents and 11 associates.

“The health district continues to communicate with the facility on a regular basis, and their transparency about testing and about positive cases with the general public is greatly appreciated,” Sullivan said.

3. Texas A&M video series

The Texas A&M School of Public Health will be airing a video series called “COVID-19 Conversations” starting May 28, at 12 p.m. A wide variety of topics such as contact tracing, modeling, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the role of epidemiologists in the fight against the virus will be discussed. Those interested can register to watch on www.brazoshealth.org.

4. Baseball

The Collegiate Summer Baseball Invitational will take place in Brazos County starting on June 1. Despite the current regulations, this event has been approved by the state. Sullivan said the organizers involved said they are taking the necessary precautions and he commended their diligence. All players, coaches, officials and broadcasters are all getting tested and will be monitored daily and will isolate themselves for the week of the event, Sullivan said.

“The post-COVID-19 world is saying ‘Okay we’re going to go about it and do things that we want to do, we’re going to do it safely,” Sullivan said. “That is what this is demonstrating.”

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