The number of confirmed positive infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus inside Washington County increased this week.

According to the the city of Brenham and Washington County’s Joint Information Center, the area is reporting 245 total cases based on 3,995 total tests. At least 158 of those residents have recovered while four remain hospitalized and 30 have died so far.

The JIC data show at least 130 of those sickened are over the age of 60. Many of them are or at one time were residents of Brenham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where 87 residents and 25 employees were sickened. At least 24 residents of BNRC died representing one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in any Texas nursing home.

The number of BNRC infections since April has come down, however, to only one active case remaining as of Monday. At least 223 were tested inside BNRC, according to JIC, many of them after the state’s emergency response teams descended on Brenham at the behest of State Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst in April.

Many of the most recent infections were found to be in younger residents. At least 28 residents under the age of 30 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far, four of them youngsters less than nine years old, according to Monday’s JIC data.

Texas reached bleak new milestones Tuesday as the state surpassed 5,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time and hospitalizations again hit record numbers, leading the largest pediatric hospital in the U.S. to begin treating adult patients in Houston.

The state surge this week in the number of infections left Washington County with its own surge of 16 confirmed positive infections — one of the largest additions to the total infected in the county since April.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott stressed Tuesday the public “comprehend the magnitude of the challenge” ahead and, in a first since Texas lifted lockdown orders in May, empowered cities and counties to immediately put tighter restrictions on large gatherings.

It was only last weekend that Texas surpassed 4,000 cases in a single day for the first time. On Tuesday, the record shot up to more than 5,400 new cases, and although Texas is testing more people, the rate of people testing positive inched closer to 10% — the highest it has been since mid-April, when Texas was still under stay-at-home orders.

Abbott says shutting down the economy again is a last resort. He is now emphasizing face coverings more strenuously than at any point during the pandemic but continues to resist calls from cities, business groups and teachers to make masks mandatory.

“There remain a lot of people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of COVID-19 is not a challenge,” Abbott told Bryan television station KBTX. “The coronavirus is serious. It’s spreading.”

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