Health administrator: Recovery from COVID doesn't end the journey

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Brown County Courthouse

Speaking to Brown County Commissioners Court members Monday, Lisa Dick included a brief personal story as part of her update on COVID in Brown County.

Dick, who is the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department administrator, told the court about how COVID has impacted a family member. The family member recovered from COVID, but experiences a long-term side effect that prompted a visit to the emergency room, Dick said.

When someone recovers from COVID, "their journey with COVID  doesn't end," Dick said. "Going through the ER — wonderful, wonderful Hendrick staff, but there's just lots of hardships because of all the additional people that are there because of COVID.

"Even if you don't have COVID, you need to (realize) that if you're seeking medical treatment, it doesn't look like what our historical medical care has in the past. So I would expect delays and maybe not having a place to transfer to if you needed to transfer somewhere else. I know if you talk to others that have had to seek medical care, they will tell you the same thing."  

Dick often comes to meetings of the commissioners court and the Brownwood City Council to give updates on COVID and vaccination numbers.

21 patients were hospitalized in Brownwood as of Monday morning, she said. 

“This has been a pretty busy three weeks," Dick said. "This is the third week in a row that we've had record number of cases. Two weeks ago, we had 344 new cases. This past week, we had 378 new cases. Two weeks ago we had four deaths. This past week we had the deaths of four also."

Dick said Brown County saw 18 breakthrough cases two weeks ago, and 40 last week.

"So we're realizing, as we have more cases and there's more exposure, even if you've been vaccinated, you are at greater risk of having it just because of the amount of exposure that you have," Dick said.

"We're still hoping that with vaccination, the cases are much lighter and don't require hospitalization. With all of this we continue to work on vaccinations. Two weeks ago, we had 329 newly vaccinated. This past week we had 361."

Dick said the breakthrough cases — which included her family member — generally have fewer symptoms in patients and quicker recovery times compared with patients who are not vaccinated.

"That is not to say that we haven't had severe illness in some of the breakthrough cases." 

The vaccination rate for Brown County residents ages 12 and over has reached 38%.

The Brownwood-Brown County Health Department will host a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 2-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Adams Street Community Center, 511 E. Adams St. Walk-ins are welcome.

COVID-19 vaccinations are also available at no cost at the Health Department, 510 E. Lee St. Monday-Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:45 p.m. 

"As our numbers continue to increase weekly, and we have additional deaths every week, the health department will continue to work with our community partners to promote (the) vaccine, and will continue to collaborate with those partners like Hendrick to help make the best possible care that we can. We're working with them on various ideas and different ways of doing things."

Dick said while she wasn't asking commissioners for any additional funds Monday, the health department will continue to need financial support from the county.