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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Local health officials speak about COVID-19, flu updates

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Photo by Meredith Seaver
Brazos Valley Health Department

The Brazos County Health District held a press conference to update on COVID-19 cases in Brazos County on Nov. 12.
Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan said the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases within Brazos County may be attributed to Halloween and other large gatherings. With a total of 8,342 positive cases county-wide and 93,739 total tests administered, Brazos County currently lists 7,547 cases as recovered and 716 cases are considered active. To date, there have been 70 total deaths from COVID-19 in Brazos County.
“This increase that we have seen elsewhere as well, not only in the state of Texas and currently in Brazos County but also elsewhere,” Sullivan said.
There are several mobile testing locations in the Bryan-College Station area, including at Connecting Point Church in College Station, which is offering free tests on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Additionally, multiple vaccine candidates are in phase three of clinical trials, during which researchers will look at how effective the response of each vaccine is to fighting COVID-19.
“Phase three is important, these are the larger numbers,” Sullivan said. “Already to this point, to get to that phase they have demonstrated efficacy, they have demonstrated an immune response but what we need to know is how safe is the response.”
Before the vaccine is ready to be distributed, the Texas Department of State Health Services have already put plans in place. Through this, 2,500 health care centers in Texas have enrolled to be providers of this vaccine when approved, with eight locally in Brazos County.
“We are confident that we will have the vaccine here when the vaccine is available elsewhere,” Sullivan said.
As flu season approaches, 229 people in Brazos County have reported the flu, which is half of the numbers at this time last year. Sullivan said that it has been widely reported that it is possible for flu and COVID-19 to co-exist.
“We expect flu to be here, it always comes, it’s just a matter of when,” Sullivan said. “That is a vaccine that is readily available and should be taken advantage of.”
Although people are tired of participating in social distancing and wearing masks, Sullivan said it is important to keep these up so infection rates do not get worse.
“We have to maintain the things that we know work. We know they work, we have seen them work right here in Brazos County,” Sullivan said, “Through social distancing and mask wearing that we have done previously, as we implemented those through summer months when we had challenges. We are back with those challenges, and I feel those challenges are going to get worse.”
With the holidays approaching and COVID-19 fatigue rampant, Sullivan said it is important to know that what we do now to help to prevent COVID-19 will help to limit the number of positive cases.
“This has been a tough time and a tough year. Unfortunately, the virus is still here, and the virus continues to do what it does,” Sullivan said. “We have to maintain our vigilance and help one another remain vigilant through this holiday season.”

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