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Brazos County attributes Halloween, social gatherings to spike in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 7:36 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 20:36:09-05

BRAZOS CO, TX — As of Thursday, Texas has the most total coronavirus cases in the United States with more than one million cases across the state.

According to the Department of State Health Services, Texas reported 143 new COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday and nearly 6,000 new cases.

Over the past week, the average number of new cases the state has seen is up 44% from the week prior, a trend Brazos County is also seeing.

“When we look at a seven-day average, the week ending October 28, that average was 31, so 31 cases. If you took all the cases that came in that week and divide it by seven, we’d be at 31. That number as of this past week though is up to 57, so we’ve almost doubled that average,” explained Dr. Seth Sullivan, Brazos County Alternate Health Authority.

While the recent spike in cases can be attributed to Halloween and social gatherings, another problem health authorities are seeing specifically in the Brazos Valley is COVID-19 fatigue.

"It's real. It's fatigue of COVID and fatigue of the social distancing, fatigue of the masks, fatigue of the talk about COVID-19. and we are all experiencing that," said Dr. Sullivan.

Schools throughout the country are returning to remote learning due to the high number of cases. On Wednesday, Allen Academy in Bryan was the first school to switch to remote learning. The health district says both Bryan ISD and College Station ISD have seen an increase in cases.

“We’re looking at, since the beginning of the month, at about 45 cases come out of both of the public school ISDs,” said Dr. Sullivan.

On Thursday, the health department reported 95 new cases. Dr. Sullivan says staffing at hospitals and health care facilities remains a challenge as the health district reported 85% total bed occupancy Thursday.

“And so that's an important number that we keep track of, how many COVID-19 patients we are taking care of, and we still have all the other non-COVID-19 patients as well," said Dr. Sullivan.

With cases and deaths continuing to rise, a second shelter-in-place order could be in the near future. Dr. Sullivan says local officials continue to meet and monitor the situation.

“At the end of the day what has to be done has to be done, and so let’s do what we can and control what we can control,” he said.

The Brazos County Public Health District is urging people to continue wearing a mask in public and to limit social gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.