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Coronavirus in Texas

Eight deaths and 193 residents reported positive for COVID-19 broke daily records in each category Tuesday, though the deaths happened during the weeks before the report.

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta was “shocked” by the revelation. The eight deaths did not occur on Tuesday but had died within the past few weeks, he said.

“Everybody is slammed right now, hospitals, medical examiners and sometimes the information is a little slow,” Sebesta said. “We have to have the documentation before we report a case or a death to see if it’s COVID-related. Until we have that documentation, we aren’t going to report it.”

Two of the eight reported deaths were residents at Pearland’s Creekside Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Sebesta said. County data shows two men in their 70s, Alvin and Manvel residents, who had COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday are classified as deceased.

But the number of deaths is not attributed to any change in the way Brazoria County is reporting them, Sebesta said.

COVID-19-related death numbers in Texas rose 12 percent Monday as Texas Department of State Health Services began counting deaths marked on death certificates as caused by COVID-19, rather than relying on local and regional public health departments to verify and report deaths.

Angleton had its highest daily total with 51 residents announced Tuesday to have tested positive. Alvin followed with 26 residents announced positive, then Pearland with 25, Freeport at 23, Lake Jackson at 17 and Clute at 14.

Also in the county, there were six new cases announced in Sweeny, four in Iowa Colony, three in Manvel, West Columbia, Brazoria, Richwood, Liverpool and Oyster Creek, two in Rosharon and Jones Creek and one in Danbury and Sandy Point, according to county data.

CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport has seen an increase in patients, but remains at a manageable and steady rate, CEO Al Guevara said.

“It is a concern because the people that test positive could be patients tomorrow,” Guevara said. “It’s not dropping and not spiking; it’s steady.”

The age group with the most people announced to test positive Tuesday were people in their 40s with 38. People in their 30s followed with 36, then 32 people in their 20s, 24 in their 50s, 23 in their 60s, 14 in their 70s and 10 older than 80.

Thirteen people younger than 20 also contracted the virus, the lowest daily total in that age group since July 18, according to county data.

In nursing homes, Angleton’s County Village Care reported 18 cases of COVID-19, 10 employees and eight residents, while Creekside Alzheimer’s Special Care Center had another resident test positive.

Two Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees and 19 Brazoria County Jail inmates also tested positive for the virus, Sebesta said.

Brazoria County Sheriff Charles Wagner said deputies have been able to release 19 inmates from quarantine.

“None have shown any symptoms, minor stuff,” Wagner said. “We keep them isolated and protocol that they are kept 14 days in quarantine. The deputies have worked extremely hard they wear masks and gloves and worked very hard to keep this out of there.”

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.

County officials also reported 82 residents to recover from the virus Tuesday.

Of the 5,237 cases in the county, 2,742 are considered active and 2,434 have recovered. There are 19 cases considered probable and 41 people with COVID-19 have died.

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.

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

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