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Health officials explain new spike in COVID-19 cases, provide update on flu numbers

Dr. Seth Sullivan said the recent spike can be attributed to Halloween, social gatherings where masks were not widely used, increased testing, and cases at local long-term care facilities.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 4:19 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Brazos County Health District on Thursday provided an update on COVID-19 in the area as numbers continue to once again increase.

Dr. Seth Sullivan, the county’s alternate health authority, said the recent spike can be attributed to Halloween, social gatherings where masks were not widely used, increased testing, and cases at local long-term care facilities.

Another problem affecting almost everyone: COVID-19 fatigue. “It’s real. There’s fatigue of social distancing, masks, talking about it. It’s real and we are all experiencing it,” said Dr. Sullivan, who also stressed it must continue. “I fear our challenges will only get worse if we don’t take this seriously.”

On Thursday, the health department reported 95 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 716. The last time we had active case numbers that high was on Monday, September 21 when 743 cases were active.

Dr. Sullivan said staffing at hospitals and healthcare facilities remains a challenge and hospital administrators are keeping a close eye on daily numbers and bed occupancy. As of Thursday, 26 Brazos County residents were hospitalized with the virus and total bed occupancy was 85%. ICU bed occupancy was 77%.

The health district says 79 people in Brazos County have died this year with COVID-19.

8,342 cases have been reported in the county since the beginning of the pandemic and 7,547 have recovered. “A vast majority of those who get the virus will be fine but there are those among us who are vulnerable,” said Dr. Sullivan. “If hospitalizations continue to increase, we’re going to be challenged to care for the rest of our community, including those who don’t have the virus.”

Dr. Sullivan also talked about the flu and said so far, we’ve seen half the cases of what was reported last year at this time.

From October 1 to November 9, 2019, there were 533 flu cases. This year for the same time period there have been only 229 cases confirmed.

When a vaccine is ready to be distributed in Texas, there are 2500 providers, including eight locally, that will help with that distribution. Dr. Sullivan said more details about that will be released soon. He went on to say he’s been in more frequent touch with local government officials as numbers increase locally.

When asked about the possibility of additional lockdowns, Dr. Sullivan responded, “At the end of the day, what has to be done has to be done but nobody wants to do that. Nobody wants to go there.” He said there’s no exact number of positive cases that would automatically trigger another lockdown. “There are many different factors that go into a decision like that,” said Dr. Sullivan.

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