Virus Outbreak Texas Daily Life

Jeff and Raynette Ho wear face masks as they sit with their dog Thursday at Custer Park in Richardson. Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered Texans in most of the state to wear face masks in public beginning at noon today as cases of the coronavirus surge. 

As the state and Brazoria County continue reporting record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases, Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta approves of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order mandating public mask-wearing to combat further spread.

“I’m not opposed to it at all,” Sebesta said. “I’m glad he has taken the patchwork of it and looking at it in a broad base.”

Freeport Mayor Brooks Bass thinks it is important for everyone to follow this mandate to prevent the state from closing down again, though the timing could have been better, he said.

“I think that the mask order issued by the governor, while well-intentioned, it was a little late,” Bass said.

Precinct 1 County Commissioner Dude Payne is optimistic the order will control the outbreak.

“I sure hope it helps with the surge,” Payne said by email. “It won’t be much change for us in southern Brazoria County since we already have mask mandates.”

The governor’s order does not require masks while eating, drinking or sitting at a restaurant, exercising, voting or any public setting where people can maintain 6 feet of social distance. The order applies to counties with 20 or more active COVID-19 cases.

Brazoria County broke its daily COVID-19 case record for the third time in a week Thursday with 106 newly reported cases.

Thursday concludes the worst COVID outbreak for a week in the county, averaging almost 78 daily cases.

Brazoria County has administered 17,734 tests since the pandemic began, according to Texas Department of Health and Human Service data. The department reports 2,438 cases, which includes prison data, meaning the county has had a cumulative rate of about 13.7 percent of tests coming back positive.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Service’s number of cases has not consistently matched the numbers reported by Brazoria County and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, though it is unclear whether the prison system is no longer counting recovered inmates who could have been released or transferred to units outside the county.

The county leader Pearland accumulated the most new infections Thursday with 38 residents reporting positive, according to county data. There are now 342 active cases in Pearland and 503 recovered.

Female Pearland residents included five each in their 20s and 30s, four in their 40s, three in their 50s and 60s each, a teenager, a girl younger than 10 and a woman in her 70s.

Males reported to test positive were five in their 40s, eight in their 30s, two in their 50s, two teenagers and one each in their 20s and 70s.

Alvin reported the second most with 17 — four men in their 20s, two men in their 50s, two men in their 40s, two women in their 30s, two women in their 20s, two girls younger than 10, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s.

Lake Jackson also added another 10 residents to its spike in positive results out of four women in their 30s, women in their 40s and 60s, a girl younger than 10, a teenage boy and a man in his 60s. Lake Jackson has 77 active, confirmed cases and 42 recovered.

Angleton also had nine residents to have tested positive — three women in their 20s, two men in their 20s, a teenage boy and girl, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 50s. Angleton has 92 active, confirmed cases and 80 recovered.

Manvel had seven residents with positive tests, including two men in their 50s, two women in their 30s, women in their 20s and 70s and a man in his 40s.

Freeport had men in their 40s and 50s, women in their 30s and 40s, a boy younger than 10 and a teenage boy reported to have tested positive.

Liverpool reported its daily highest with four residents contracting the virus, according to county data. Residents included men in their 20s, 30s and 50s and a woman in her 20s.

Other residents included an Iowa Colony woman in her 30s, a West Columbia man and a West Columbia woman in their 30s, a Brookside Village boy younger than 10, a Danbury man in his 20s, Damon men in their 30s and 50s, a Clute teenage boy, a Clute man in his 20s, a Clute woman in her 40s, Sweeny women in their 20s and 40s, a Richwood woman in her 20s, a Brazoria woman in her 20s and a Brazoria man in his 60s.

One of those cases was probable, according to county data, meaning they are in people who are symptomatic and connected to a confirmed case of COVID-19, usually by living in the same household.

The county also passed 1,000 recoveries by announcing 48 residents considered recovered Thursday. Brazoria County now has 1,046 recoveries overall.

There are 908 active cases, 17 are deceased and 36 are probable. There have been 2,008 cases reported by the county since the start of the pandemic.

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.

Coronavirus cases reported after processing

Case count numbers are not reported by the county the same day individuals receive their personal results, local officials say.

Numbers are reported on the day the county receives the lab results, County Judge Matt Sebesta said.

“We don’t report the day someone calls and says we tested positive; we report when our health department received it,” Sebesta said.

Results are processed at different rates due to a number of factors, including if the test was taken outside of the county or there is a confusion about the address, Brazoria County Director of Public Health Services Cathy Sbrusch said.

“The counts represent the results that we get in that time frame,” Sbrusch said.

Creekside in Pearland newly affected by virus

Creekside Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Pearland had a resident announced to have tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

This is the first case connected to this facility, which was initially misidentified as Creekside Village Healthcare in Clute.

Abbott extends SNAP benefits

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will provide $182 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits for July, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“The extension of these emergency SNAP benefits helps ensure that Texans can provide nutritious food for their families as the state continues to combat COVID-19,” Abbott said. “Securing access to healthy food in our communities is an important part of our response to this pandemic.”

The program is set to assist more than 950,000 homes, according to the news release.

Residents can apply at or using the Your Texas Benefits mobile app, according to the news release.

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

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Good leadership in a crisis comes when the person stops compromising with recommendations and knows when actionable mandates are needed. Governor Abbott acted well, albeit a little late. Several mayors likewise understood the math enough to act. Other local leaders hesitated, or are still hesitant. Our beach compromise is one example of semi-action when stronger action is needed. The one saving grace is that enough visitors will be out of town, so hopefully the impact will be dispersed. We need strong laws mandating protection from the virus so we can keep as much business open as possible, and hopefully, have a safe re-opening of our schools next month.

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