Brownwood COVID cases, hospitalizations continue to fall

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
COVID wheel

On Jan. 13, Brown County had 625 active COVID-19cases, with 25 COVID-19patients in Hendrick Medical Center Brownwood.

The number of active cases declined during the rest of January and into February, and the county had 126 active cases Friday with 12 in the Brownwood hospital. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department reported just six positive cases Friday. 

Ten deaths were reported Thursday and two deaths Friday, bringing the total Brown County death count from COVID-19 to 117.

Brownwood/Brown County Health Administrator Lisa Dick, speaking by phone Friday morning, addressed the falling COVID-19 numbers as well as the deaths that were reported.

“I’m very thankful for (the lower numbers), and I hope that (it) is a reflection of this decreasing,” Dick said. “(Thursday) we also released that there were 10 people that had passed away. That is concerning to me, but that’s reflective of what’s happened, maybe, over the last two weeks to a month.

“I do think the deaths are reflective of what we were seeing further back and the cases that we see right now reflect our activity that happened two or three weeks ago.”

Those who received COVID-19 vaccinations at the drive-through clinic Wednesday at Gordon Wood Stadium will be scheduled to return to receive their second doses of the two-dose vaccine on March 3, Dick said.

She also said she’s hopeful another vaccination clinic can be scheduled in the latter part of this coming week.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as many as we did last time,” Dick said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to see at least some (vaccine) come into our community every week. It may not always be the hospital or us and it may not always be 600. This past week AccelHealth also had 200. That 1B group is going to take us a long time to get through that group.”

Dick said she isn’t sure what has caused the numbers to fall.

“I honestly don’t know,” Dick said. “I haven’t seen more compliance as far as people wearing their mask. I haven’t seen increased compliance for social distancing or more people staying at home. In fact I’m kind of seeing the opposite of that and that’s the part that concerns me. I think if we loosen up too much, then we’re going to see an increase in cases again.”     

COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout Trauma Service Area D, which includes Brown and Taylor counties, were at 8.65 percent Friday. Earlier this week, the region saw its seventh consecutive day of the percentage falling below 15 percent, allowing businesses to increase capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent.

In December, the health department was notified by the state  that Trauma Region D had exceeded the threshold of seven consecutive days of over 15 percent COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The exceeded threshold of hospitalizations in the region triggered business restrictions in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32.

Hendrick Health’s Community Safety Level Dial decreased earlier this week from Level 6 Emergency to Level 5 Critical.

Dr. Rob Wiley, chief medical officer for Hendrick Health, addressed the falling COVID-19 numbers in a video posted Thursday.

“I have the opportunity to share some very good news about COVID-19 in our community,” Wiley said. “Presently we have dropped our percent positive from 27 percent down to 14 percent. Within our hospital, we have dropped our hospitalizations to nearly half of what they were.

“Our ICU continues to still be very full. But instead of being at 180 percent capacity we’re now down around 100 percent capacity. Other good news for our region is that our (Trauma Service Area) numbers have been below 15 percent for over seven days and that is good news for our community. It will allow us to open up our economy, to allow restaurants to go back to 75 percent and it will have other changes that will affect the ability of our economy to grow.”