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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Takeaways from the April 16 press conference

A+press+conference+takes+place+Monday%2C+April+13%2C+2020%2C+at+the+Brazos+County+Health+District+to+provide+an+update+on+COVID-19.
Photo by Courtesy of Laura McKenzie/The Eagle

A press conference takes place Monday, April 13, 2020, at the Brazos County Health District to provide an update on COVID-19.

Updates on the presence of the coronavirus in Brazos County were given at the most recent Brazos County Health District (BCHD) press conference on April 16.
As usual, Brazos County health authority Dr. Seth Sullivan began the conference with the latest COVID-19 statistics. Today, the BCHD reported seven new cases and the 14th death resulting from the virus. The patient was a female in her 80s in hospice care. In addition, he said the total number of cases is now 158, with 41 recovered patients, nine hospitalizations and 2,622 total tests performed in Brazos County. Below are some of the main takeaways from the press conference.
COVID-19 testing
Sullivan said a common question has concerned serology tests for COVID-19. Serology is the diagnostic examination of blood serum to find antibodies. According to the CDC, this type of test is valuable because it can help inform health authorities about the number of patients that are infected in the country.
Dr. Jason Jennings at Baylor Scott & White said his hospital has been very proactive in testing since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Brazos County. Jennings said Baylor Scott & White was one of the first four hospitals in the U.S. to perform tests on sight. At first, the tests could take up to two days to come back with results, but now tests take about four to six hours. Jennings expects that time to decrease further in the coming weeks. Dr. Kia Parsi with CHI St. Joseph said his hospital is working on enhanced testing that he said would most likely take place next week to discover antibodies and hopefully use that to better care for the patients.
Clusters and community spread
Sullivan said clusters are a common factor in those who have been infected. Sullivan defined a cluster as a gathering of two or more people. He said the closer you are to people and the longer you spend in a group, the more likely you are to catch the virus if it is present in that group, even if there is no physical contact.
Sullivan said 45 percent of all of the cases in Brazos County have been the result of community spread and clusters as Sullivan described. All health care workers present reiterated the importance of social distancing in preventing one from contracting the disease.
Hospitals are constantly adapting
Parsi said St. Joseph has had a steady number of cases thus far, and there has been no shortage of supplies. The hospital has been supplied with a sufficient number of gloves and face masks, and contains 400 beds and enough ventilators for 120 people. He also reminded the viewers that hospitals in the county are providing telehealth services for their patients. The community is encouraged to use them before coming to the hospital for non-emergency cases.
Jennings wanted to emphasize that while COVID-19 has been dominating the news recently, it is important to remember that people experience other emergencies that require immediate care such as heart attacks and strokes. He said Baylor Scott & White ICU is currently at 70 percent capacity, and the health care workers there have been performing drills related to the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

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