Brownwood City Council members once again took stock of Brown County’s COVID-19 cases when they met Tuesday via Zoom videoconference.
City Hall will reopen Monday along with the drive-through window for utility payments, City Manager Emily Crawford said at the meeting. "However we highly encourage people to pay online as it’s most convenient for everyone," Crawford said.
Lisa Dick, health administrator for the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department, reviewed the numbers for COVID-19 tests in Brown County as of Tuesday morning: 310 tested with 34 positives, three deaths and 267 negatives.
Those numbers have since been updated. As of Wednesday: 322 tested, 276 negative, 10 pending, 36 positive, 11 recovered and four deaths.
The positives in cases six through 34 had occurred at a nursing home, Dick said, referring to the numbers reported as of Tuesday.
"The last six have been employees, and currently we’re doing case investigations to make sure that we’re identifying those who may have been in contact with those employees," Dick said.
Dick was asked if the travel pattern of any of the six is known.
"We’re working on that," Dick said. "From what we’re seeing, most of those employees were already being careful because of the issues of other cases that were at the nursing facility."
Two additional positive cases were reported Wednesday. One case is a resident of the same nursing home, and the other is the spouse of a nursing home employee.
Mayor Stephen Haynes said the incident rate across Texas "is still higher than the incident rate per million population in Brownwood, if you pro-rata that out. My thought is, since the incident rate across the state is higher than we have locally, then there’s no reason for us to have more stringent local controls."
Haynes added, "I don’t know that we’re necessarily out of the woods either."
Reports from local physicians indicate "they think the peak locally could very well be in May or June or summertime, so we’ve got to continue to monitor the situation," Haynes said.
"I do want to emphasize that although we have not had a significant local outbreak other than at the nursing home facility, that doesn’t mean that the risk still isn’t there. So continue to be safe and take caution, socially distance and wash your hands and do all those things."
Haynes said he spoke recently with representatives of Brownwood and Abilene hospitals.
"Both said their medical facilities are not operating near capacity for COVID right now," Haynes said.
Council members also discussed the topic of whether public facilities will remain closed.
"Most of the public facilities we’re talking about are related to our kids — swimming pools, splash pads, parks, etcetera," Haynes said. "My thought on that is, if the danger is present enough that they don’t need to be in school, then they probably don’t need to be at the parks either."
In other business Tuesday, council members:
• Denied a request by Brent Moseley to change the zoning on property at the corner of Austin and Bonita from R-1 Single Family Residential to C-1 Local Business District.
• Denied an application by Oncor Electric to increase distribution rates with the city. The rate hike would have in an 88 cent increase to the average residential customer’s monthly bill.
• Approved an ordinance to prohibit dogs in the Bert V. Massey II Sports Complex while league sanctioned baseball and softball games and tournaments are being played.