CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Brazoria County again reached an all-time high of 77 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, and two cases are related to a Pearland nursing home.

The cases span 13 cities, and increasing numbers of cases are being seen everywhere, County Judge Matt Sebesta said.

“Just folks have moved into summertime mode and a lot of people, I believe, have dropped their guard,” he said.

Additionally, many people don’t want to miss a day of work even if they are sick, he said.

“We’ve got ingrained in our culture a lot of folks, when they are a little bit sick they’re used to going to work,” Sebesta said. “They don’t want to miss a paycheck and I completely understand that — they are products of their parents … and we kind of need to retrain on that a little bit. When folks are feeling ill they need to stay at home and not interact with other people until they can get tested and make sure that they are not COVID-positive.”

Of those who tested positive, Pearland reported the largest number: 25 new cases. Two of those are residents of the Windsong Care Center, though Sebesta could not confirm the gender or age of those people, he said.

Two Pearland men in their 20s, two in their 30s, and four in their 40s were reported Thursday to have tested positive for the virus, as well as three men in their 50s, one in his 60s and one in his 70s. Pearland also reported one woman in her 20s, three in their 30s, four in their 40s, and two in their 50s. Two women 80 or older rounded out Pearland’s latest case count.

Pearland Mayor Tom Reid issued a face mask mandate Thursday. According to the order, which will go into effect from Sunday through July 12, businesses that directly provide goods or services to the public are required to mandate the wearing of face masks inside their facilities for all people who are 10 or older.

“I’m glad Mayor Reid did that,” Sebesta said. “Pearland is where we are seeing an awful lot of cases right now, and you know, I think a mandatory mask order is in order for communities that are hot spots, and Pearland is certainly a hot spot right now and has been.”

Reid was not immediately available for comment.

Iowa Colony reported five new cases, including two boys younger than 10. A man in his 20s, a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 30s made up the rest of the city’s new cases.

Manvel’s new cases were two people in their 30s and two in their 40s: a man and woman of each age.

In Alvin, three boys under 10 were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as a man in his 30s, two men in their 40s, one in his 50s and one in his 60s. One woman in her 20s and two in their 50s were also listed as new positives on the county dashboard.

Angleton reported a man and a woman under 20 as new positive cases, as well as a man and a woman in their 20s, one woman and three men in their 40s, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 70s, for a total of 10 new positives in all.

Eight probable cases were included in Thursday’s count. Angleton had the highest number of probable cases with four: a man and a woman both under 20, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s. Alvin reported a woman in her 20s along with two men: one in his 30s and one in his 40s. Clute’s probable case was a woman in her 20s.

Probable cases are people who are exhibiting COVID symptoms and are linked to others who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, usually by living in the same household.

Two Clute men in their 20s, plus a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 40s were included in the county’s report Thursday, as were a man in his 20s, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 50s who are all residents of Lake Jackson. As of Thursday, Lake Jackson has more active than recovered cases: 28 and 25, respectively.

Pearland has almost 150 more recovered cases than active. The city has 266 active cases, 16 probable, 11 deceased and 413 recovered.

“They’ve had a little bit of a surge lately in confirmed cases, whereas Pearland has been — for quite a while they’ve had a lot of newly confirmed cases,” Sebesta said.

Lake Jackson Mayor Bob Sipple agreed with Sebesta’s thoughts on people having let down their guard.

“We’ve seen a lot of people in parks, we’ve seen a lot of people in different parts of the city all together,” Sipple said. “There are many people in the city of Lake Jackson that are not following the protocol. I think when we opened up, there became a false sense of security, like ‘The disease is over with,’ like ‘It’s passed us,’ like ‘It’s not going to happen to us.’”

That’s not the case, he said.

“We have seen many times where the protocol is not being followed, and this results in increased cases,” he said. “That’s what’s happening.”

While it is not Sipple’s intention or city council’s intention at this point to mandate face masks, all leaders — city managers, mayors and Sebesta — are begging people to please follow the guidelines, Sipple said.

“There’s no other way to stop this,” he said.

Two new cases were reported for both Sweeny and Jones Creek; a Sweeny man in his 60s and a woman in her 20s, and two Jones Creek women, respectively in their 30s and 60s, were said to have tested positive. The rest of the new cases Thursday were a Freeport man in his 60s, an Oyster Creek woman in her 20s, a Richwood man in his 20s, and a Brookside Village woman in her 80s, according to county data.

Officials also reported 30 recoveries Thursday.

Brazoria County has seen 1,463 reports of COVID-19 cases, with 585 confirmed cases and 814 recoveries. There are 49 cases considered probable, and 15 people have died.

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.

Vehicle registration can be delayed

There are no penalties for expired vehicle tags, registration or title transfers during the ongoing state disaster declaration and for 60 days after it is rescinded or expires, County Tax Assessor and Collector Ro’Vin Garrett said.

“The governor has waived Texas Dept. of Motor Vehicle requirements to timely register and transfer title to motor vehicles,” she said in an email. “This waiver also includes renewal of the permanent disabled parking placard.”

This means customers can stay out of line at the tax office, Garrett said.

“If you don’t need to get out, if you don’t want to get out, you don’t have to,” she said.

If someone is crossing state lines, it might be necessary to have current tags, Garrett said.

Vehicle registration renewals can be done online if they are not more than 60 days expired, she said.

Residents can also pay property taxes online using a credit card or an echeck, which has no extra fee, Garrett said. Second half of property tax payments are due Tuesday for people who took the split payment option, she said.

For information, visit brazoriacountytx.gov/departments/tax-office/property-taxes.

Richwood ‘strongly’ ASKS residents wear masks

Richwood Mayor Steve Boykin “strongly requests” all residents wear masks inside public locations, but the request is not a mandate.

“Wearing a mask is a proactive step at reducing the spread of COVID-19, along with social distancing and frequent hand washing,” a news release said Thursday. “If we continue to see the increase, other orders may be brought forward where a mask may become a requirement.”

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