CHI St Luke's Health Brazosport

CHI St Luke's Health Brazosport in Lake Jackson.

ANGLETON — CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport officials have not seen an overwhelming spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations that many facilities in the state have experienced, Interim President Jim May said.

“We have not seen a significant increase at St. Luke’s, but we have terms in backup if it gets that way,” May said. “It’s only been a small amount and, knock on wood, we are not seeing that increase in here.”

May added the Brazoria County increase in cases has not produced an unmanageable situation in the area.

“In the community, it’s not as bad as it is just up the road,” May said. “We are there for them as their community hospital, and we are here until the end.”

The Brazosport campus will relay bed capacity numbers with other CHI St. Luke’s hospitals in the state and react if necessary to assist the other campus.

No other CHI St. Luke’s facility has needed the Brazosport hospital’s assistance as of this week, May said.

Officials are up to speed on preparing for incoming patients and have more tools to combat the virus than in March and April, Emergency Room Director Kevin Rittger said.

“The hospitals are doing well. Certainly, there has been a slight increase overall in the number of cases we’re seeing,” Rittger said. “Based on as of about a week ago, it’s really not overwhelming because we’re used to the increase. In our area, the prevalence of cases is not as great as other areas, so we’ve just been fortunate in that way, recently.”

Rittger added the numbers currently had not eclipsed the levels seen in the summer.

After not reporting cases Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday, Brazoria County saw its numbers of infections jump to 158 on Friday, with 48 of those probable. The county also saw 81 recoveries, and only one of the new cases was from a test given more than two weeks ago.

Pearland recorded a third of Friday’s reported cases, totaling 52 newly infected. Alvin followed with 18, then Manvel and Angleton with 10 each. Eight were from Iowa Colony, four each from Freeport and Lake Jackson, two from West Columbia and Bailey’s Prairie, and one from each Sweeny, Brookside Village, Holiday Lakes, Liverpool and Damon.

Residents in their 40s were the most-affected age group, accounting for 27 people, followed by 24 in their 30s, 18 in their 20s and 12 in their teens, 50s and 60s. Five children younger than 10, three residents in their 70s and two older than 80 also tested positive for COVID-19.

Chief Administration Officer at SFA Community Health Network Penny Pabst has seen a steady increase in its positive test rate recently.

“Just in the last week, our positive rate the past week was 13.2 percent,” Pabst said. “For Monday and Tuesday, we had eight that tested positive out of 113 tests. On the weekends, we’re seeing less testing being done, and during the week, we’re seeing about 70 a day and that number has been stable for about a month.

Pabst added Hispanic populations tested positive 24.4 percent out of 123 administered tests.

Friday’s additions bump up the county totals to 13,784 reported cases, of which 1,554 are active and 301 are probable. There have been 11,742 recoveries and 169 fatalities.

Probable cases are people who are exhibiting COVID symptoms and are linked to others who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, usually by living in the same household, as well as those for which antigen tests have provided “presumptive laboratory evidence” of infection, no matter whether the person qualifies as a close contact.

The new infections announced daily are from tests taken at least several days previously. On average, it takes two to four days for labs to return results, but some tests could take longer before the findings are reported to the county.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0149.

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