In session Monday morning, November 16, Brown County Commissioners received their weekly update on COVID-19 from Lisa Dick, administrator, of the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department. (shown in photo) She addressed the continue spike in cases.
“This week we had 148 additional positive cases. Active cases were at 154 last week when I spoke with y’all and this morning (Monday) we are at 224 active cases,” Dick said. The Monday evening number of active cases increased again to 263.
County Judge, Dr. Paul Lilly, said that he is going to call a meeting, either this Friday or this coming Monday, involving the Mayors of communities in Brown County and himself and health department as they discuss the increase in COVID cases.
In an interview after the meeting, Judge Lilly commented on the mask order and reiterated he has no plans to close the Brown County economy again.
“The governor has not rescinded his mask order. Everybody go online if you have any questions about where and when you have to wear the mask. The most common misconception is that there is no penalty for not wearing the mask and that is wrong. There is a penalty,” Judge Lilly said. He added that he and the Mayors in Brown County are not in favor of having local law officers enforce the mask order.
“However, state troopers, game wardens, any other state peace officers can (enforce the mask order) and they very well might,” Judge Lilly said.
According to the Governor’s Order signed into action on July 2, 2020, following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of the face-covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.
Judge Lilly continued by saying he has no plans to close the Brown County economy.
“I’m not going to shut the Brown County government down again, I’m just not going to do it. We did it in March to give our hospitals a chance to get prepared for the incoming cases. They are prepared now and we even have reserves that I discussed earlier,” Lilly said. It was noted in the meeting that Hendrick Medical Center Brownwood has the ability to open two additional floors of the local medical center if needed.
“I have no plans whatsoever of shutting Brown County’s economy down again. That doesn’t mean the Governor won’t, but I’m not going to,” Judge Lilly said.
As it pertains to the upcoming holiday season:
“Wear those masks, it’s a pain, I know, I’m wearing one right now as I’m giving this interview, but the life you save may be your own, it may be your child’s, it may be your parents, it may be your brother and sister, siblings or your neighbor. Just wear the mask, it’s the least we can do to try and curb this spread,” Judge Lilly said.
From the Health Department standpoint, Lisa Dick said celebrating the upcoming holidays is a tough situation, trying to combine traditional family gatherings while at the same time protecting against the spread of coronavirus.
“There are additional practices. I would encourage everyone to get a flu vaccine before Thanksgiving to prevent against having the flu in addition to COVID. The second thing would be, if you are going to have a gathering, try to limit the time you’re going to spend together, wear a mask, do those things we’ve talked about like social distancing, frequent hand washing, cleaning surfaces. We encourage you to not share food which is difficult at Thanksgiving, I know,” Lisa said.
Possible alternatives would be for each family represented to bring food for their own family, having gatherings outside if weather permits or leave windows open if inside for fresh air.