Brazoria County reports spike in COVID-19 cases as Texas reopens

Brazoria County has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Brazoria County has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Brazoria County has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Brazoria County has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases and is now reporting 1,903 cases of the virus as of July 1, according to data collected by the county’s health department.

That compares to 367 cases the county had seen up until May 1, when Gov. Greg Abbott’s first phase of reopening Texas initiated. This would soon follow with a second phase of reopening, which began May 18.

According to Cathy Sbrusch, director of public health services for Brazoria County, those reopenings have caused that spike in cases.

“The recent spike appears to be from increased community movement,” Sbrusch wrote in a statement. “As places have reopened and activities have resumed, individuals now have significantly more contact with others than they were previously. This applies to both sources of exposure and to others they have exposed.”

The state’s second phase of reopening coincided with the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, resulting in protests nationwide bringing large groups of people together. In Galveston County, a group of Friendswood ISD alumni held a Black Lives Matter march in honor of Floyd.

Despite the protests around the Houston area, Sbrusch said she did not believe they were the cause for the recent spike in cases.

“In Brazoria County, the recent increase in the past 10 days [since June 13] has not been attributed to any large outbreaks,” Sbrusch wrote. “We have not seen any increase in cases attributed to the ongoing protests.”

COVID-19 cases in Brazoria County are continuing at a steeper increase since the second reopening phase began on May 18, the county’s data shows. On May 1, the county reported five new cases that day. By May 18, that had increased to 16 new cases per day. By June 22, that number had increased to 26 new cases per day.

On June 30, the county reported 100 cases in a day—a record high since the start of the outbreak in mid-March.

What is important to consider is that Brazoria County no longer reports Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate case information on its COVID-19 dashboard, as of June 8, according to recent reports. That includes COVID case information on a nearly 8,000-inmate population within Brazoria County, among six correctional facility units, according to the TDCJ.

According to Jeremy Desel, director of communications for the TDCJ, the department is required to report inmate COVID-19 numbers to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

As of July 1, Brazoria County reports 1,903 COVID-19 cases, according to the state health department data, leaving 433 cases unaccounted for when comparing the state and county data. The criminal justice department reports on July 1 that among the six correctional units within Brazoria County, there are 20 active COVID-19 cases among inmates, with 593 total recoveries.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


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