As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, Brown County has tested 123 people for COVID-19 with eight positives, 105 negatives and 10 pending results.
Three have recovered, and three are hospitalized — two at Brownwood Regional Medical Center and one in Abilene.
Two new cases were confirmed late Wednesday afternoon in an email from the City of Brownwood, which read as follows:
On April 8, 2020, the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department received 13 negative test results and two positive test results, making a total of eight COVID-19 cases in Brown County.
The two confirmed cases are residents of the same nursing facility in Brownwood as the sixth COVID-19 case announced on April 4.
The Health Department is working closely with the facility to mitigate additional spread.
Wednesday morning, Brownwood-Brown County Health Administrator Lisa Dick addressed the local COVID-19 situation during a Zoom video conference held in Brown County Judge Paul Lilly’s office.
COVID-19 test supplies are “limited,” and more have been ordered, Dick said. “If we could get more it would be better for our situation,” she said.
Early City Administrator Tony Aaron said Police Chief David Mercer was able to obtain 10 test kits by ordering independently through the Texas Department of Emergency Management. Those kits have been delivered to the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department, Aaron said.
Jace Jones, chief executive officer of Brownwood Regional Medical Center, said the hospital can take up to 77 COVID-19 patients.
Jones also said:
• BRMC has 1,441 doses of hydroxychloriquine, which would treat 60 patients, and enough azithromycin to treat 70 to 110 patients.
• The hospital has nine ventilators and five anesthesia machines that could be used “in a pinch” for ventilation.
• “Right now we have eight patients in isolation,” Jones said. “Two of those are positive for COVID-19. So half of our ICU is what we consider negative pressure. I believe that would be our next step, is to convert the entire ICU to negative pressure if we get any more COVID-positive patients.”
According to www.airinovations.com: A negative pressure room uses lower air pressure to allow outside air into the segregated environment. This traps and keeps potentially harmful particles from leaving the space.
Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes addressed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s stay-in-place order. That order “(is) basically pre-empting ours in a lot of ways,” Haynes said. “There’s not much more we can do in the way of a stay-at- home or a shelter-in-place order.
“I know people in the community have asked about that. The governor’s order provides that we cannot close any business he defined as essential, and most of the businesses that are open in our community right now, with a handful of exceptions would be on the essential service list.”
Lilly said he hopes it doesn’t become necessary to order Brown County residents to wear make outdoors.
“I really don’t want to go there if we don’t have to,” Lilly said, adding it might be necessary if a “huge spike” in COVID-19 cases occurs in the county.
The courthouse remains closed except by appointment, Lilly said.
Brown County Emergency Management Coordinator David Creed said his office has 300 gloves and 50 masks remaining in stock. His office has been able to meet requests from volunteer fire departments and first responders, and additional supplies are coming in, Creed said.
Brown County Elections Administrator Larry Franks said the four local elections that were scheduled for May 2 have been postponed until November. The entities that will have those elections are the Early and Bangs school Boards, Bangs City Council and Brown County Water Improvement District.