Health experts offer advice on the COVID data that matters most to families as BCHD drops treatment of local cases

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The Brazos County Health District has decided to stop updating the local COVID-19 dashboard. Instead, they will report cases to the state Department of Health Services.

With this big change, the community wants to know what COVID data is important to them. Parents of young children like Kate Henderson are watching COVID-19 closely. Her son Jack is still too young to be vaccinated, so she takes extra precautions, like trying to limit his presence.

“We’re checking information from the health department and trying to see if cases are increasing,” said Henderson, of College Station.

Texas A&M Director of Student Health Services, Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, explained how to interpret the plethora of COVID-19 data and which data points have the most impact on families.

“Monitoring what’s happening with hospitals and the death rates related to that is also important for families in making those decisions,” Dannenbaum said.

Dr. Dannenbaum said you will still be able to find data, but in a different place.

“You’re going to get purer data from this, it may not come instantly but it comes quite quickly because it’s an electronic interface,” she said. “There’s a lot of data out there and I’m not sure there’s one particular piece of data that will necessarily be better than another. I think you have to take everything into account and then try to keep it in perspective. What we do know is that omicron is highly contagious.

“There will always be COVID-19 data available at the state level. This will break it down by counties so you can see how our county is doing. But I really feel like I’m at a time in the pandemic now where we have a lot of tools we can use to minimize risk,” said Angela Clendenin, Ph.D., assistant professor at the teaching at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. “What we need to think about as parents is how can we minimize the risk to our students. We have masks you can wear. The vaccines you can get if it suits you. We have good hand hygiene.

Mothers like Kate worry about having less local information.

“With omicron, it’s so contagious. It’s important to report on this as regularly as possible and it’s a little worrying that they don’t do it every day. So we won’t have as much information. I feel like having information is one of the most important things right now and that’s a bit concerning,” Henderson said.

Texas A&M health experts also believe we are in a much better place now than when the pandemic began with vaccines widely available and more knowledge about how the virus spreads as well as its treatment.

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