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Health experts offer advice on what COVID data matters most to families as BCHD drops local case processing

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:44 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The Brazos County Health District has decided to stop updating the local COVID-19 dashboard. Instead they will report cases from the Department of State Health Services.

With that big change, the community wants to know what COVID data matters to them. Parents with young children like Kate Henderson are keeping a close eye on COVID-19. Her son Jack is still too young to be vaccinated, so she’s taking extra precautions like trying to limit who he’s around.

“We do check the health department for information and try to see if cases are rising,” said Henderson, of College Station.

Texas A&M Student Health Services Director, Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, discussed how to interpret the plethora of COVID-19 data, and which data points impact families the most.

“Monitoring what’s happening with hospitals and death rates related to this is also important for families in making those decisions,” said Dannenbaum.

Dr. Dannenbaum said you’ll still be able to find data, but in a different place.

“You’re going to get more pure data from that, it may not come instantaneously but it comes pretty quickly because it is an electronic interface,” she said. “There is a lot of data out there and I’m not sure that there’s one particular piece of data that’s going to be necessarily better than another. I think taking all of it in and then trying to keep it in perspective. What we know is omicron is very contagious.”

There will always be COVID-19 data available at the state level. That will break it down by counties so you can see how our county is doing. But I really feel like were at a point in the pandemic now where we have a lot of tools that we can use to minimize risk,” said Angela Clendenin, Ph.D., Texas A&M School of Public Health Instructional Assistant Professor. “What we need to be thinking about as parents is how can we minimize the risk for our students. We have masks you can wear. Vaccines you can get if that’s right for you. We’ve good hand hygiene.”

Mothers like Kate worry about having less info at the local level.

“With omicron it’s so contagious. It’s important to report on it as consistently as possible and it’s a little bit concerning that they’re not going to be doing it every day. So we won’t have as much information. I feel like having information is one of the most important things right now and that’s a little bit concerning,” said Henderson.

Health experts at Texas A&M also believe we are in a much better place now than when the pandemic first started with vaccinations widely available and more knowledge about how the virus spreads as well as treatment for it.

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