City seeks numbers to prepare for COVID vaccine

Steve Nash / Brownwood Bulletin
covid graphic

Saying they're not trying for force anyone to take the COVID vaccine, Brownwood city officials hope to learn how many residents plan to take the vaccine so the health department will know how many doses to request.

Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford told city council members Tuesday morning that Fire Chief Eric Hicks suggested getting input from local residents to determine the number of vaccines needed.

Crawford said a survey is being prepared to send to residents.

Texas is ready to distribute 1.4 million doses as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine receives federal government approval, Gov. Greg Abbott announced earlier.

The vaccines should be arriving the week of Dec. 14 for distribution to qualifying providers, Abbott announced.

State officials have said health care workers will be first in line for the shots, followed by nursing home staffers, emergency medical service drivers, and paramedics and home health aides, the Texas Tribune reported. 

Brownwood/Brown County Health Administrator Lisa Dick told council members local officials would learn later Tuesday if COVID hospitalizations had reached a number in Trauma Region D, which includes Brown County and Abilene, to trigger state-mandated economic rollbacks in the region.

Brown County is operating under Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 that allows most businesses to operate at 75 percent capacity, city officials said earlier. According to order, hospital regions with high COVID-19 hospitalizations, defined as 15 percent of total staffed hospital beds for a seven-day period, triggers business occupancy to be reduced to 50 percent and mandates that bars not serving food must close.

Monday was the sixth day in which COVID hospitalizations were at 15 percent, Dick told council members.

Also Tuesday, council members discussed the need to add to the health department's budget for COVID issues as federal COVID relief funds will be expiring. Brownwood Mayor City Haynes said the city will ask other entities to help fund the department's shortfall in COVID matters.