By Nubia Reyna
The City of Brownsville held a virtual press conference on Thursday where Mayor Trey Mendez and Public Health Director Art Rodriguez provided an update on COVID-19 and the recommendations for the community as the numbers continue to increase throughout the country.
Mendez said Brownsville has been holding steady since late August, but there is still some concern since other cities are starting to see increases in cases such as New York, which will start to impose curfews on restaurants, bars and gyms starting Friday.
“We’ve remained vigilant this whole entire time, not a single day goes by that we are not looking at numbers and stats, trying to gauge where we are. We really are trying to anticipate what it is that we need to do, and the city took some very proactive measures back in August and September, lowering occupancies in restaurants and other places which we certainly feel helped. We were able to do that for almost two months,” the mayor said.
There have been more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 reported in the United States with over 242,000 deaths. In Texas, there have been more than one million cases reported and 19,555 coronavirus-related deaths. As of Thursday, Cameron County reported 24,825 COVID-19 cases with 1,096 deaths.
Mendez said for the last few weeks, there has been a slight increase in positive rates in the city but nothing that requires immediate action. He added depending on how the numbers go for the next weeks, the situation might change.
As for now, the city’s Threat Matrix it as at Level 3-significant. The color-coded Threat Matrix provides a visual status of how COVID-19 pandemic has affected the community.
Mendez said so far 573 people have died in the City of Brownsville as a result of COVID, 497 of those have been Brownsville residents with the majority of those being in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
“In July alone we had about 298 of those deaths, it started to trend down in August at 130, September had 59 and October had 21; so we’ve seen a real steady decline,” he said.
Rodriguez said he wants to remind the community to visit btxcares.com to find more information and get tested for COVID-19 at one of the two testing drive-thru sites the city has. He said everyone needs to do their part and wear facial coverings, social distance and wash their hands.
“We want to remind people of all ages to continue exercising what they’ve been doing all this time, they’ve done a good job. … Brownsville continues to be at a trajectory where we have a positivity rate that has ranged from as low as 7 percent to as high as 19 percent, and these trajectories do change daily,” he said.
“In order for us to be effective at meeting the public health responsibilities we have, we recommend that everyone continues to do their part by wearing their facial mask, continue social distancing and most importantly sanitizing the work place, hand washing frequently. We can say that these are proven measures, they work and they’re very effective when done appropriately and accordingly.”
As of Nov. 9, 14,099 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Brownsville.