After the first COVID-related death in Austin County was reported on Friday, County Judge Tim Lapham provided updated information about cases of the virus in the county, noting the possibility of more deaths.
“The state is showing us at 160 total with 76 cases active. Last week we reported the first death from COVID-19. Speaking with the doctor, we believe this was a direct result of COVID. There are possibly two more coming that tested positive at the time of death but may or may not have died as a direct result of COVID,” Lapham reported on Facebook.
Bellville Medical Center released a statement Tuesday morning indicating the severity of the disease appears to be declining despite the one death.
“The number of COVID cases in the county seems to be increasing; however, the severity appears to be mild to moderate, for the most part,” the statement says. “As of July 20, 2020, the case count for Austin County was 160 total cases, with 84 cases reported as recovered. The county has now experienced one death related to COVID-19.”
On Friday Lapham reiterated there is a delay between when he gets the list of positive tests and their addresses to double-check to see that nobody was counted twice.
“We are trying our best to give accurate numbers to you,” Lapham said. “I get a daily update every evening of new cases. The update from yesterday (July 16) said this: Sealy male 50-59, Sealy female 30-39, Brenham female 60-69, Wallis female 20-29, Brenham female 20-29, Sealy female 40-49. Another source gives us addresses. That’s how we try to make sure we aren’t double counting, but the addresses sometimes come days later and not in the same grouping.”
Lapham said that the cases from Brenham could either live in Washington or Austin counties but understood residents’ want for more accurate case counts.
“You don’t want inflated numbers, you need to know the truth,” Lapham said. “The numbers the hospital reports are always very close with what I have, and I appreciate all their efforts. All those on the front lines of this deserve our gratitude. Thank you to all those keeping us safe and keeping us free.”
BMC noted that testing is getting faster and offered direction for those who may have been exposed to the virus.
“While test results are coming back more quickly, it still takes 1-3 days, maybe more. When waiting for results, individuals should self-isolate and should not return to work or school until they receive negative results. Employers will have different requirements to return to work following a positive test result, so know what your employer requires,” BMC said.
“We have had questions regarding quarantine guidelines. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms, it is important to distance yourself from others in the household. Do not come in close contact with another household member, maintain at least a six-foot distance and wear a face covering to prevent the spread of virus droplets. Do not share eating utensils and wash non-disposable utensils in hot water with soap or in the dishwasher. Disinfect frequently touched items such as doorknobs and light switches often. Wash clothing separately and in the hottest temperature possible.”
In Monday’s update, Lapham encouraged people to do their part to stop the spread of the disease.
“Continue the precautions we have been discussing from the beginning. If you experience symptoms, call your doctor,” he said. “Whether you get tested or not, your recovery depends on how quickly you treat the symptoms. Don’t let it get worse thinking it will get better. Ask your doctor or pharmacy, what do I need to take for these symptoms.
“I know there are some in the county who probably have COVID but don’t want to get tested and add to the count. That’s fine if you are in reasonably good health and keep it from spreading. Use good judgement, don’t go out if you’re sick. There’s lots of good people in this county who will bring you something if you need it.”