Seven additional cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Brazos County Health District on Thursday, bringing the total in Brazos County to 28.
Three of the cases are hospitalized, according to the health district. No additional details about the seven new cases were released, but the Brazos County Health District said it would be sharing data graphs on the positive cases soon. The next health district press conference is currently scheduled for Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Locally, two new cases were reported in Washington County. The county’s first positive case of the coronavirus was announced Wednesday. Officials said a city of Brenham employee in his 40s tested positive. No further information was available about the newest cases.
The number of people around the world who have contracted the coronavirus has surged past 500,000, and the United States tops the list, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
U.S. deaths have now topped 1,100, another grim update for a global outbreak that has wreaked havoc on economies and established routines of life.
Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 23,000, according to Johns Hopkins’ running count.
Statewide, the number of cases has surpassed 1,400, with 18 related deaths. According to the Waco Tribune, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District announced five new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the local total to 33. Four patients in Waco have been hospitalized — up from three Wednesday — and two patients have recovered, the health district announced in a press release.
Texas joined other states Thursday in imposing quarantines on travelers from the New York area, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., and put similar restrictions on people arriving from nearby New Orleans as the number of cases there surges dramatically.
By requiring anyone arriving by plane from New Orleans and the New York area — including New Jersey and Connecticut — to quarantine for 14 days, Texas became the latest state to race to isolate travelers coming from places where the coronavirus crisis is most severe. Governors in Florida and Maryland announced similar restrictions this week pertaining to New York.
New Orleans is also becoming a major center of COVID-19 worries, as the number of cases Thursday surpassed 2,300 and deaths climbed to 86.
Asked about the new Texas order, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “I can’t say that that is inappropriate.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said those who don’t comply with the quarantine risk jail time, adding that state troopers would conduct visits to make sure people were staying put.
Abbott said 100 Texas patients were hospitalized and that the state had added about 3,000 beds in recent days in preparation for the worst ahead.
Concerns over the virus also forced the Houston school district, the biggest in Texas, to indefinitely suspend meals for low-income families after a worker went into self-isolation over a possible exposure.
Houston Independent School District officials said Thursday that a worker who may have been exposed was not showing any symptoms and that the risk of public exposure was believed to be small. Families who need food can still get it at city-run food distribution centers, according to the district.
Another school district near San Antonio, Hondo ISD, also suspended its meals program Wednesday after a district employee tested positive for COVID-19. The man was in isolation at his home, the district said.
The uptick of cases in Texas also continued spreading through jails. Dallas County officials said five inmates had tested positive, and in Houston, a positive test came back Wednesday for someone under the age of 16 at the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center. Kendall Mayfield, a spokeswoman for the center, said the juvenile has been in detention since December.
Brazos County remains under a shelter-in-place order, which went into effect Tuesday and will last until April 7.
Essential services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, health care offices, gas stations, hardware supply stores and banks, may remain open. Restaurants will continue to operate as they have been with takeout, delivery and drive-thru options.
Robertson County enacted a shelter-in-place order at 9 p.m. Wednesday, which closed all non-essential business and prohibited visiting people’s homes except to provide care or supplies. Robertson County has one reported case of coronavirus.