Demand for vaccine increasing as COVID numbers rise
As the number of COVID cases in Brown County has climbed, so has the demand for vaccinations.
The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department will be allocated $30,000 — $15,000 from the City of Brownwood and $15,000 from the county — in American Rescue Plan funds to pay for additional staffing for weekly vaccination clinics, as well as supplies.
The Brown County Commissioners Court approved the allocation Monday, and the Brownwood City Council took identical action Tuesday, contingent on the city receiving the rescue plan funds it anticipates.
The health department has been "over-run" with people wanting vaccinations, council members were told.
Health department administrator Lisa Dick told council members the department received 125 COVID positive test results Monday, which was the three-day total from Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Dick also said additional COVID deaths occurred over the weekend in addition to the six deaths reported last week. She did not have the number of weekend deaths.
Seventeen COVID patients were hospitalized in Brownwood as of Tuesday morning, Dick said.
In Trauma Service Region D, which includes Brown County, 12.6 percent of hospitalizations are COVID patients, Dick said.
"Previously we watched that number because if it got to 15 percent, there were some implications," Dick said. "That's no longer applicable with the last order from the governor, but I think it's till an important number for us to look at.
"When we're looking at over 12 percent of our hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, I think that that affects other areas of our life and ability to get quality health care."
Dick said 35 percent of Brown County residents have been vaccinated. The number needs to reach about 70 percent — double the current rate — to stop the spread of COVID, Dick said.
"That is one of the reasons why we really want to focus on vaccination efforts," Dick said.
Mayor Stephen Haynes said he understands that opportunities to receive the vaccine "in the private sector have somewhat diminished over the last several days."
"They have," Dick said. "You still can get it at some pharmacies but there have been days where they didn't have a supply, and most doctors offices are not carrying COVID vaccines because if you open one vial, you need to give the vaccine to six to 10 people. If you don't already have them on the schedule, then they just waste that vaccine." Council members were also given a breakdown of where COVID cases have occurred in the county:
• Brownwood — 55 percent.
• Early — 9 percent.
• Bangs — 4 percent.
• Blanket — 1 percent.
• Unincorporated Brown County — 31 percent.