The number infected by the novel coronavirus more than doubled Friday after the Brazoria County Health Department confirmed six residents with positive cases of COVID-19, but they all remain north of Highway 6.
Anyone who doesn’t believe the virus won’t eventually stretch south is “fooling themselves,” County Judge Matt Sebesta said.
Officials believe the northern concentration is due to larger populations seeing the virus first, but it will eventually trickle down, he said.
“We always suspected more cases,” Sebesta said. “We were fortunate on Thursday to not announce any more, but this is hardly a shock. This is going to touch every community at some point.”
Regardless of the major uptick in positive cases, Clute resident Patricia Armstrong was not concerned about the spike.
“I’m not really worried,” she said. “Toilet paper and hand sanitizer ain’t gonna stop God from taking me if he wants.”
The six additions Friday were two 40- to 50-year-old Pearland men, a 45- to 55-year old Pearland man, a 65- to 75-year-old Pearland woman, a 50- to 60-year-old Alvin man and a 40- to 50-year-old Rosharon man.
The Rosharon case’s cause is unknown while the other five cases are travel-related, according to a county news release.
The last five cases arrived in a flurry, Sebesta said.
All 10 people confirmed to have COVID-19 in Brazoria County are recovering at home in isolation.
The only previously hospitalized patient, a 55- to 65-year-old Manvel man, was released from the hospital Thursday, Sebesta said.
Brazoria County officials are only notified when a novel coronavirus test comes back positive, so they are not able to give an accurate picture for the county of how many people are being tested, how many tests are pending and how many have come back as negative, Sebesta said.
“If I give you a number, it’s not a good number,” Sebesta said.
Hospitals are administering tests and doctors are sending patients to private testing labs, Sebesta said. Brazoria County does not have a county hospital district where everyone gets tested, which makes it difficult to know the exact figures.
Sebesta believes all but maybe one, definitely the majority, of the people with confirmed cases were tested outside of the county.
“The testing is all over, from private places to hospitals to wherever,” Sebesta said. “You can’t draw any conclusions. It’s going to touch every community that we have in Brazoria County. It’s inevitable.”
It will eventually stretch south, he said.
“Anybody who thinks differently is fooling themselves,” Sebesta said.
The public health emergency issued Friday for the state of Texas is the first since 1901, Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said during a 3 p.m. video update on the county’s Facebook page.
Sebesta reiterated Gov. Greg Abbott’s four executive orders, which went into effect today. They are: people must avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people; bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and massage parlors are to close down, though drive-thru and delivery services are allowed and encouraged; people cannot visit nursing or retirement homes or long-term healthcare facilities unless providing critical care; and schools shall temporarily close. The governor’s orders are effective for two weeks.
Brazoria County offices remain open, providing service to residents with skeleton crews, though Sebesta encouraged residents to call ahead for any business that can be taken care of on the phone or online, he said. The county will continue to release information on its social media pages and website as it becomes available, he said.
Sebesta also encouraged residents to support local businesses and to check in on elderly neighbors and people with lowered immune systems who are remaining at home to make sure they don’t feel completely isolated.
“Be respectful of others,” Sebesta said. “We are all in this together.”
We will be “Brazoria County strong” through this event, he said.
For anyone not taking the precautionary approach, Sebesta urges them to not to take the pandemic lightly.
“Some people it may take for someone close to them to get sick,” Sebesta said. “Folks need to just keep to themselves for the next two weeks.”
Sebesta preaches patience and understanding as officials work hard to put an emphatic end to the spread.
“Our folks here and at the health department are busting their butts trying to contain this thing,” Sebesta said. “Everyone needs to chip in and do their part.”