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Chief Stewart says recent dip in COVID-19 vaccines for Brazos Valley, 'disheartening'

Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 20:59:05-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — Brazos County had a trio of covid-related deaths reported Tuesday. On top of the new deaths reported, the district also reported a new low, that the county hadn't seen in quite some time.

The Brazos County Health District reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, which was the lowest reported number of daily cases since they reported 25, on Dec 7.

Outside of a drop in new reported cases, ICU bed occupancy saw a drop as well. Monday, the total ICU bed occupancy was 133%. Tuesday, the number was down to 106%.

"Numbers have really been elevated over the last two months, now, we are starting to see the spike in cases kind of wash out, and hopefully, we are seeing a decline from that. The other hope is that we are actually starting to see a decline from vaccination, though at the current moment, we can't say how much of that is related or not," shared Dr. Jason McKnight, Assistant Clinical Professor of Primary Care and Population Health with the Texas A&M University College of Medicine.

Of the 40 new cases reported Tuesday, BCHD says 25% belonged to the 18-24 age group.

"We do see that the number within this age range can vary from day to day. We did see huge spikes when school started back up this fall, and when students came back after Christmas break," Mary Parrish, Administrative Assistant for Emergency Preparedness and Response with the Brazos County Health District said.

On top of additional deaths and an overall lower ICU bed occupancy, vaccination efforts saw a small setback this week. The county received fewer vaccines then they originally hoped for. Last week 5,000 doses were administered and health officials were hoping the same would happen this week, but it didn't.

"...and when we received word Thursday morning, that the hospitals were only going to get 2,000 initial doses, so they are getting 3,000 doses, 2,000 are initial doses, the other 1,000 are designed to be the second doses, at that point in time, we had already scheduled appointments for 4,000 people. We were just beside ourselves," Chief Jim Stewart of the COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force said.

Chief Stewart says, having the rug pulled out from under them was 'disheartening'.

"We regrouped, regathered, re-planned and came up with a plan to do a full day yesterday (Monday) and a half a day today (Tuesday) so we get thru the 2,000 doses over a matter of a day and a half. We took the people who were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday morning, administered the vaccine to them, and those who were scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday we pushed them to next week," Chief Stewart added.

Stewart says, one of the big challenges is not really knowing exactly how many vaccines the county will receive.

"The state is doing the best they can. I think the federal government is doing the best they can, but they (the State) can only allocate doses that they can actually receive in from the federal government," Stewart added.

"We still want people to register. The St. Joseph site is up and running and folks that are desirous, whether they are 1B or 1A or whatever it's going to be after that, I want them to go ahead and register. We can go through and sort out those that are not eligible just yet because our focus today is still the 1B population. Those that are 16 and above with a medical condition and those that are 65 and older. Those are the folks we want to come through the hub right now," Chief Stewart added.