ANGLETON — Brazoria County announced 136 new cases Thursday, of which almost half are considered probable, officials said.

A Brazoria man in his 70s was also reported to have died, county spokeswoman Sharon Trower said by email.

The Texas Depart-ment of State Health Services changed the definition of probable cases to include those for which antigen tests have provided “presumptive laboratory evidence” of infection, no matter whether the person has symptoms or a close contact who has the virus. Other 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.

There were 57 probable causes Thursday and seemingly no relationship between many of them. They are spread across 16 municipalities: Pearland, Richwood, Brazoria, Jones Creek, Lake Jackson, Manvel, Damon, Oyster Creek, Freeport, Alvin, Liverpool, Iowa Colony, West Columbia, Clute, Damon and Angleton.

Only three of the 136 cases were from test samples taken more than two weeks ago, Trower said.

Three of the cases are reported from Forgotten Angels Foundation residents, Trower said. The foundation has group homes throughout Pearland communities, according to its website. Another is a resident from Woodlake Nursing home in Clute, she said.

Another case transferred out of Brazoria County’s jurisdiction, bringing the total 13,040 cases. Texas has had 1.13 million cases.

Of the 79 confirmed new cases, 26 were from Pearland. Manvel followed with nine. Alvin, Angleton and Lake Jackson had eight new cases each, Iowa Colony had five, Freeport, Richwood and Brazoria each had three, Brookside Village and Bonney each had two and Sweeny and Clute each had one.

Each age group was affected, with 17 in their 30s, 15 in their 40s, 11 in their 20s, 10 in their 50s, eight each in their 60s and 70s, seven adolescents, two children and one person 80 or older.

The Brazoria man’s death brings the toll up to 163 Brazoria County residents who have died from COVID-19-related causes. There are 11,423 people who have recovered, 1,232 cases remain active and 222 cases are probable.

The larger case numbers have contributed to the first consistent rise in active cases since officials changed the recovery criteria in mid-August. That criteria classifies cases as recovered if they are at least 10 days past the onset of symptoms with no fever for the past 24 hours and improvement of other symptoms; and if it’s been at least 28 days since the first positive lab result was collected and the person is neither hospitalized nor in a nursing home.

The number of active cases peaked at 4,050 Aug. 20 before steadily declining to stay between 600 and 700 Oct. 2 through Oct. 28, when it began rising above 700 again. It exceeded 1,000 active cases again Nov. 13.

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.

Maddy McCarty is assistant managing editor for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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