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Judge Jeff Branick talks rising COVID cases, mask plea & future where restrictions could return

BEAUMONT — As local virus numbers continue to spike, County Judge Jeff Branick on Thursday morning stood on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse and asked Southeast Texans to get vaccinated, wear masks and social distance.

“As we stand now with considerable concern over what these increasing infection rates are going to do to our healthcare system, as well as to our work places, and concern that if we go above 15 percent hospitalizations … some of the restrictions on businesses under the governor’s orders will return and be put into effect,” Branick said to a crowd of media members.

“I wanted to come out … and ask that you make a plea to your listeners and watchers to strongly consider becoming fully vaccinated, and also encouraging those individuals that have not been vaccinated to wear masks.

“We’re not here to try and take away anyone’s freedoms or deprive them of their right of choice.”

Mary Poole with Baptist Health System joined County Judge Jeff Branick Thursday in discussing an uptick in COVID cases. (Monique Batson/The News)

On Thursday, the Beaumont Health Department reported its first confirmed case of the Delta variant.

This comes one day after the city confirmed 89 new cases.

The Port Arthur Health Department on Wednesday reported 26 new cases among Mid and South County residents.

Thursday at 6 p.m. the Port Arthur Health Department will host a town hall to answer questions regarding the virus.

Vaccines will be available at the event, which will be held at 3501 Cultural Center Drive in Port Arthur.