BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Brazos County Judge Duane Peters has received a letter from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services that it must reduce business capacities to 50 percent. This is due to several consecutive days where COVID-19 hospitalized patients have exceeded 15 percent of the total hospital occupancy rate.
So what does this mean?
Brazos County is located in what the state has categorized as "Trauma Service Area N." There are other Brazos Valley counties in this service area, including Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington.
Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32, which said businesses could open at 75 percent capacity, however, if patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are hospitalized and those patients exceed 15 percent of the total hospital occupancy rate, then businesses will have to decrease back down to 50 percent capacity.
One of the other criteria is that these hospitalization rates must hold for at least seven consecutive days.
According to the executive order, all bar establishments, or businesses that get at least 51 percent from the sale of alcohol, will be closed. Elective surgeries are also put on hold until the situation improves.
Governor Abbott and the TABC allow counties to appeal the order, however, Brazos County does not qualify for an appeal at this time. The county must have fewer than 30 total cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days. The county has seen several days of triple-digit reporting or close to it in the last 14 days. Once hospitalization rates are at 15 percent or lower for at least seven consecutive days, occupancy rates can be increased again.
The TABC has already taken Brazos County, as well as the counties of Robertson, Burleson, Washington and Grimes off the list of bars allowed to be open.