City uses COVID-19 threat matrix; colors will signify severity of coronavirus

The City of Brownsville released on Tuesday a five level color- coded Threat Matrix to provide a visual status of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the city. The goal of the matrix is to provide residents with recommendations to stay safe and lessen the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The matrix is compiled by receiving input from local hospitals, city epidemiologists and other city health staff, in conjunction with city Emergency Operations Center, Fire/EMS divisions, city officials stated in a press release.

The city is currently at a level four, which signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19inBrownsville. The action during this level is to stay home and take action to minimize contact with others, avoid leaving home except for the most essential needs, ensure adequate supplies
of food and medicine are stocked at home. Travel or curfew restrictions may be applied.

Any changes to the threat level will be released Monday.

“I think people in the Rio Grande Valley are accustomed to reading warnings like the hurricane categories one through five and this matrix is meant to try and send the same message to the community that when we start to see a certain level of activity relevant to COVID, it’s important for people to understand that there’s certain actions that they can take to even reverse or prevent the further spread of it,” Art Rodriguez, public health director for The City of Brownsville, said in an interview.

“Unlike a hurricane that you can’t prevent and it’s going to hit you at whatever level, this is very different, if we reverse our habits and we wear our masks and disinfect and sanitize and use those practices we can start to reverse the number of cases that are occurring.”

As of Monday, 6,769 people had been tested in Brownsville for COVID-19 with 1,588 testing positive. The city reports 846 people have recovered from the virus and that there had been 30 deaths.

“We are trying to let the community know that we necessarily don’t have to be victims of COVID, we don’t have to feel this threat; we can reverse it,” Rodriguez said.

“What action can someone do right now while the level threat is severe? We should try and remain home if we can, we need to limit our amount of activity when we socialize and if we’re going to go out we really have to wear our mask, not because the governor is declaring it but because it’s the right thing to do.”
Grey level five extreme signifies no hospital capacity to treat any patients due to COVID-19 response or on diversion. The action required is to restrict movement out of home to emergencies only and to stay tuned to notifications from official government or regulatory agencies for further actions. Travel or curfew restrictions may be applied.

Orange level three signifies a significant uncontrolled COVID-19 in Brownsville and action required is to minimize contact with others, limit to 10 people, avoiding any medium or large gatherings and only visiting permissible businesses that follow public health guidance.

Yellow level two moderate signifies a moderate but controlled level of COVID19 in Brownsville and residents should remain vigilant but resume contact with others and resume leaving home.

Green level one minimal signifies a minimal and controlled level of COVID19 in Brownsville, meaning new chains of transmission are limited and quickly broken. Residents may resume normal contact with others unless sick.

For more information, call the helpline at (956) 546-HELP.