Brazos County confirms first COVID-19-related death; 40 cases confirmed

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- The Brazos County Health District on Saturday confirmed the county's first COVID-19-related death.

The patient was a College Station man in his 80s and was in hospice care at the time of his death, officials confirmed. Authorities say he contracted the virus through community-spread, meaning he has not traveled out of the area.

No other details about his situation were specifically available.

The total number of cases in Brazos County is now 40. Six of those patients remain hospitalized.

The total for the Brazos Valley area is now 54.

Click here to watch Saturday's briefing.

Dr. Seth Sullivan, Brazos County's alternate public health authority, says 52% of the 40 cases are travel-related cases. He furthered that the current attack rate of the virus was higher than that of the state of Texas.

Officials said shelter-in-place orders need to be taken seriously as more cases are expected.

"We are going to be taking a harder look at individuals," who do not take guidelines and the ordinance seriously," said College Station Mayor Karl Mooney.

"You can expect that we are simply are not going to come up and say this is what the law is now in College Station. We will cite you," said Mooney.

Violators of the shelter-in-place order could receive a fine up to $1,000 and/or up-to 180 days in jail.

"The College Station City Council is meeting on Monday and it's likely we will have to extend our shelter-in-place," said Mayor Mooney.

Local leaders also admitted it's tough to enforce such rules without outside assistance.

"Beyond the capability of our local, county and city law enforcement, we can't solve that problem without state help," said Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson.

"Governor, we need your help. We need some statewide action. These are regional and state problems and we need to take actions to restrict movements, help to build our capacity and help in general economically and all three of these we're going to need for the foreseeable future," said Nelson.

Dr. Seth Sullivan warned with only 50 Intensive Care Units available at hospitals in Brazos County, the trend is alarming.

"This data, if it were allowed to just continue, we could be quickly overwhelmed," said Dr. Sullivan.

"This problem has now gotten bigger. If you look at minimizing the virus we have to look at the Brazos Valley. The hospitals that are here in Bryan-College Station are servicing a 7-county area that doesn't have hospitals as we have here in B/CS. We have cases here reported from New Orleans, New York, New Mexico. We have cases where clearly travel is hurting us. It's spreading," said Nelson.