Washington County Judge John Durrenberger currently has no plans to issue an order mandating residents stay at home or shelter in place.

County Judge John Durrenberger speaks at a press conference in front of the Washington County Courthouse March 23rd. (Mark Whitehead)

Durrenberger in a release this (Friday) afternoon said, at this time, elected officials in Washington County believe it necessary to continue practicing all the recommended social distancing practices, while also empowering people to self-regulate their lives rather than be “told to do” something. He said in his release “we can choose to panic, hoard supplies, and shut down the county, or we can choose to be rational”.

Emergency management officials, as of this afternoon, have confirmed five COVID-19 positive cases, ranging from 40 to 92 years old. Emergency Management Coordinator Bryan Ruemke said two of the COVID-19 positive individuals are in their 40s, one person is over the age of 60, and two are in their 80s and 90s. Durrenberger said two of the cases are currently hospitalized, the other three are at home under quarantine, and all confirmed cases so far are “likely from community spread”.

Durrenberger said there are likely more COVID-19 cases that the county does not know about, and may never know about as some cases do not show symptoms. According to Durrenberger, the county’s hospital emergency room volume is currently lower than average, EMS/911 call volume is lower than normal, and primary care physician clinics are seeing fewer patients than ever before. He also pointed to data suggesting that greater than 98 percent of the people infected with the virus will survive, only 2 to 3 percent of patients will require ICU or ventilator-level care, and upwards of 70 percent will not even show symptoms.

Durrenberger thanked the community for heeding the warnings that have been released and making sacrifices in order to limit the exposure and spread of the virus. He said there are things the community can do better in its fight against COVID-19, but at this time Washington County Commissioners do not feel that applying more stringent ordinances is the answer for today’s concerns.

You can read Durrenberger's full release here.

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry


  1. PLEASE SHUT IT DOWN! People should abide by current recommendations, but they DON’T. It’s not going to end magically this way. WISE UP

  2. I got out and drove through downtown this morning and the town was deserted! But, I noticed over by Smitty’s a group of teenage boys all on their cell phones and side by side, definitely not 6 ft apart!!! This concerns me! These boys should have been home . Come on people! Wake up! Do you not know where your kids are??? Please stay home??

  3. It seems to me that when the smartest, most informed people in the country are telling us the guidelines to protect ourselves, then we should listen. They know how bad it is and I can bet you their families are NOT going out anywhere. Stop the spread, stay at home.

  4. This is irresponsible at best. People do not listen to the current orders stay home and to follow social distancing. And if you don’t want to take my word for it thats fine. Go to HEB for 5 minutes and look around. Is that what social distancing looks like to you? I work in retail myself and the amount of people telling me they’re coming to the store “because they’re bored at home” is mind boggling. Seeing fewer cases than they ever have? Please. We have an extremely competent but unfortunately very small medical field in brenham. Combine that with the high average age of our citizens and you have a very dangerous situation. They could EASILY become overwhelmed with patients which would lead to disastrous results. We need an enforced shelter in place to protect the citizens and to help our medical employees deal with this situation by keeping the numbers low.

  5. After there are a bunch of confirmed cases in the county, and after there have been several deaths, I expect that Judge John Durrenberger will order residents to shelter in place . . . when it’s too late to really be effective.

  6. Bottom line. People will die. It is like drowning from the inside out. A watery death. You will be alone when you or your loved one dies as no family will be allowed by your side to comfort you. You cannot have an open casket. You won’t be embalmed. You won’t have a funeral. You are part of the pandemic now and that is not like the flu my fellow citizens. We are going to feel the emotional pain of the losses in this town and all anyone can think about is not being told what to do.
    It is too late to deny govt help. It has happened but like VP Pence said yesterday during his conference “This will require organizing on the local level, with guidance from the State and Federal funding.” Locally we have to pull together to help each other out. Everything has already changed. The cat is out of the bag. Let’s not just sacrifice the weak to the virus when we know the end ends like this? Soylent Green

  7. This is a false flag event to test how fast things would fall apart in a pandemic. The virus is the flu. Over 5,000,000 Americans get it each year and hundreds actually die…numbers are right on that pace is clue #1. Cases are popping up in random places with no information at all about the person or their movements and none have a single tie to travelers….thats clue #2. Schools are shut down, sporting events cancelled, but adults are still going to jobs….thats clue #3….mark my words, some major law change or mandatory vaccination will result from this and that is the goal the creators of this false flag is trying to reach….remember these words, law change or mandatory vaccinations…u will hear one of those….

  8. It’s called puré stupidly on all the peeps going in public when they knuw they sick!!! Keep yourself home !!!!

  9. I agree. If any of the people who are minimizing the seriousness and risk of spreading the virus had a family member or themselves come down with it, they would wish they had taken more drastic measures to avoid spreading the the virus community wide.

  10. Previously, I was advocating for a lockdown as the virus inched toward us. Then I saw that people were ignoring the clear and sensible recommendations of the medical community. Sending their kids to 2 dollar movies that the brain surgeons at your local theatre were offering, undermining the schools’ efforts to protect children. There is literally no point to a lockdown if folks continue to congregate. People from Houston are coming here to raid our stores and bringing disease with them.
    The recent confirmed cases were inevitable. There are probably 100 more at least walking around. We don’t have enough tests here to know for sure. They aren’t testing symptomatic people who don’t have underlying medical conditions. Isolate yourself and your family. Don’t wait until half the county is infected with nowhere to get treated. Common-sense precautions are your personal responsibility, not some politician’s.

  11. It’s all bout peeps being careful!!! So daikin in Waller shut down due to guy being positive with virus , do you realize how many employees they have there??? Three shifts 24:7, well over I’m sure 400 plus employees !!! Peeps wake up , stay home if your sick.

  12. REALLY??? You peeps who go out and HOG everything that many peeps need , you should be ashame and not be so greedy !!!

    Wake up!!! Share!!! Your the ones that are making this so bad and actually making peeps lose their jobs!!! No job!! No insurance!! No child care!! Really??? Get a life and be supported to our community , stay home if your sick, don’t go out, if your job lets you work from home then be thankful!! Do your share and stay home and share with all needed peeps and stop hogging all the goods , be thankful that the grocery stores in brenham are working 24/7 BUT stop hogging everything and stay home !!!

  13. Thank you for using common sense in making your decision Judge. South Korea never did a lock down and came through just fine, the key is lots of testing and using the drug cocktail that is showing so much promise. A second French Study by Dr. Raoult finds Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin Helped EVERY PATIENT in Study Group of 80 Minus One, the one was 86 and severely ill with the virus when treatment began. All of you people calling for “shelter in place” have no idea what you are asking for! It is crazy in places that have the shelter in place, it causes more problems than it solves.

  14. Lockdown or not people will move about. Too easy with “essential employees” or “buying groceries, etc.”. If we issue a shelter in place, we should also declare Washington County a Dry county, because everyone knows alcohol is bad. Lower all the speed limits to 20mph throughout the county, lives depend on it. We’re all in this together. If it saves just one life it’s worth it… right?

    1. Your topic has nothing to actually help with virus, main thing is stay home if you sick, alcohol is every where not just in Washington county, this has nothing to do with virus !!! Lowering speed limits has nothing to do with virus !!! Get a life, You should be more concern bout all the hogging peeps taking of all needed stuff to keep our health care providers safe , they are risking their lives to help the needed !!! Have a heart!!!

      1. “Lock it down” was being sarcastic about the alcohol and speed limit.
        Reread his/her comment again for better comprehension of the meaning.

      2. He is saying shelter in place to save a life is like having a 20 mile an hr speed limit to save a life or prohibition to save a life

  15. I personally believe Judge Durrenberger is showing some common sense leadership. It makes sense to use caution and wash your hands after getting back from the grocery store and avoid crowds with the current situation. But, should the government have to mandate common sense? FOR GOODNESS SAKE PEOPLE, WHAT HAPPENED TO A CONCEPT CALLED PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

  16. As a nurse and a citizen of this county I believe this is a huge mistake…people are out running about as per usual…taking no precautions nor giving any care about this virus..its an ill never get it attitude…other counties feel it’s a good idea to contain the virus somewhat..why are we any different from them..we have 5 cases and maybe we could keep those numbers low by having stricter rules in place…people are NOT listening..why should everyone suffer because of people who are being ignorant..money money money all about money…we need to get it together..and quickly…I know how I’m voting next time unless things change rapidly

    1. I am a concerned citizen as well. Are you aware that in cities with shelter in place domestic violence calls are spiking? Are you aware that calls to suicide hotlines have gone up 300%? Are you aware that people are panicking in cities with shelter in place, fights in Walmart parking lots, police having to shut down the store? My daughter is in Katy and they are having a terrible time even getting milk for the kids, can only find eggs at the gas station at a cost of $5/dozen. Sometimes the “cure” is worse than the problem.

  17. When natural disasters happen ie. hurricanes and tornadoes, strict rules are put into place to protect people’s property from those who would steal or loot. Stricter rules to protect the health of our community from the ones who have less respect for the health of others seems to be not as important.

  18. If you have ever known someone to drive a certain type of car, you are more likely to notice /that type of car/. If articles say corona virus symptoms are a,b, or c, people will associate those symptoms with corona virus symptoms whether they are are allergy, otherwise illness or covid-19. That being said what if covid symptoms are being written off as the trivial allergy, unknown cancer or otherwise. If this were to happen it would promote community spread, when it should have been swabbed to make certain. Simply basing these factors off from the political standpoint, or a matter of he said she said is not only politically biased but and/or ignorance on a man in charge. The only way to keep a disease from spreading is to not give it the oppurtunity to do so. Do your part, stay apart.

  19. I didn’t realize living in Washington County
    That it is in a BUBBLE! and exempt from the outside world. Really YOU better give this a lot more thought!!!!! Our local hospital last time I heard was no longer
    considered able to handle Trauma cases.
    Would this mean they have no ventilators???
    Yes like you Leaders of the county I am hoping we fair well but just remember KARMA! can bite back. Especially when there
    Seems to be no preparations being considered.

    1. No bubble here. Shelter in place results in people panicking, spikes in domestic violence calls, 300% increase in calls to suicide hotlines. My daughter in Katy can’t even find milk for her kids, she can only find eggs at the gas station store sometimes at a cost of $5/dozen. South Korea never did a lock down and came through just fine, the key is lots of testing and using the drug cocktail that is showing so much promise. A second French Study by Dr. Raoult finds Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin Helped EVERY PATIENT in Study Group of 80 Minus One, the one was 86 and severely ill with the virus when treatment began.

  20. Harris County has a “shelter in place” but those people are all over Washington County. Folks, it is impossible to enforce. We have common sense out here. We care about our neighbors. Wash your hands and keep your distance.

  21. So it sounds like a lot of y’all need someone to tell you how to be careful or need someone to blame when you do go out. That’s weird. Always blaming Brenham for your decisions

  22. Shelter in place would protect the people who don’t have a choice but to get out, like pharmacy workers and grocery stockers. The rest of the county needs to stay out of public to protect the elderly. And to the rest of you who are sure you will survive it, what about when you have a kidney stone or are in a car wreck and the tiny hospital is overwhelmed and you can’t get the help you need?

    1. Well, it really is not a very long transport drive to transfer patients if needed. Shelter in place results in people panicking, spikes in domestic violence calls, 300% increase in calls to suicide hotlines.

  23. Always about a buck and to heck with your family . As a family do what is right for you and ignore non medical politicians with zero knowledge on THIS virus .

    1. My job affects over 300 people and being on ‘leave’ if you will and Mandatory at that is not something one wishes for! I tried to fight to stay at work at least 16 hours a week during this and was told I could only do 4….4 hours for a week. Those over 300 people now have to wait days for what they need.
      So before you pop off stating this is for fun and games for getting our of work ask yourself are you one of those people. Must be!

  24. You can be a leader or a mindless follower. This shows why nom medical people should not handle a pandemic. They are out of their league. I guess 2 ro 3 % deaths on someone’s hands are acceptable.

  25. To all of you people DEMANDING that the city and county officials start ruling out county like a scene out of “The Hunger Games” maybe you should take into account that it’s not the government’s place to dictate how we live our day to day lives. They have ordered appropriate measures to combat the spread of this virus (if not already over-stepping). The at risk population (our elderly and immuno-compromised) should stay at home and limit their exposure. The rest of us should also exercise caution. The same people who demand the government issue orders to lock the town down are the probably the people who refuse to follow other government orders, such as speeding, marijuana use, controlled substances, etc… Stop expecting the government to protect you by dictating your daily life to you and start educating yourself and taking the actions YOU SEE FIT, in order to protect your family.

    1. First of all, we are not demanding it for ourselves. It’s for people that can’t follow the guidelines that are already set forth, and go and do as they want with no regard for others. I am sure your one of those that worry about yourself. I have elders and kids in my family and protect them and follow the guidelines that were asked to follow. Why do you think all these cities put these restrictions in their town? Because people can’t do what they are asked. So yes, Washington County has a lot of those people which think it’s no big deal. So hopefully the city and county leaders will go back and make the right decision to control the people that don’t follow what’s asked. Quit thinking of yourself for one! This virus is bad. Just because we don’t have the death rate YET, but we could. I am sure all the other cities didn’t think they would have it either. Italy, 900 deaths in one day. Is that acceptable? How do you think their families feel. Well let’s do what we need to defeat this so we can all get back to normal, and yes Josh that means you too

      1. There are 60,480,000 people in Italy as of the 2018 census. There have been 9134 deaths from coronavirus there’s ice it hit them on Feb. 21st. That’s 1 in 6,621. The geographical size of Italy is approximately the size of Arizona. There are 7,172,000 people in Arizona. That’s 8 times their population in the same size space.

        Washington County TX has a population of 35,043. We have got to stop comparing our community to Italy. They are stuck on a peninsula with water on 3 sides and their northern border is closed off by the government that chose to “shut them down”.

        Do some research folks. Stop letting others tell you the truth and find it for yourself. Yes the disease is bad; and nobody likes death, but if we are on the same path as Italy (which is impossible because we are not locked in like they are)…that means approximately 5 people will die within the next month from it. That is, if we are “shut down like Italy”!

    2. Most, if not all, Brenham’s large manufacturing employers will choose to keep their doors open if elected officials do not apply more stringent ordinances. They will only shut their doors if they have an onsite case. Employees will be required to go to work or risk jeopardizing losing their jobs and their ability to take care of their families if they choose not to go to work without medical documentation. They will not be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if it’s considered a voluntary resignation. So, it’s on the elected officials to make the right decision to take care of these employees, their families, and the community.

    3. Josh, talk about out of touch. YOU might be doing COVID19 protocol, but are you willing to take the chance of bumping into someone who hasn’t? You are living in denial.
      I’m demanding a lockdown, and I don’t speed, nor do marijuana, etc. So, where does that put me in your theory?
      Hunger Games? It just might come to that given the leadership we have from the White House to our county: More worried about the immediate economy/election than what can happen long term if our hospitals are overwhelmed.
      And, NO, “they” have not done the appropriate measures to extinguish this scourge.
      Everything will be fine; the stock market looks good; tourists are all over Brenham.
      Great comfort for those in line for a ventilator.

  26. I take issue with the assertion that ONLY 2 to 3 percent will require ventilators or ICU treatment. If we go back to pre-virus behavior, ignore the need to follow CDC and WHO guidelines, and all of the county is infected, that translates into over 1,000 patients in critical care. Is Baylor Scott & White prepared for that patient load? Are there enough ventilators? I don’t think so. We would be inviting conditions such as Italy and Spain are suffering, where people are dying in the hallways of overwhelmed hospitals. I think it is wiser to do what Harris County is doing and order non-essential businesses to close temporarily. Let’s protect the community we love.

    1. Yes sir. Washington county is too worried about making money. Everyone still out like there is nothing going on, it will nite em in the ass.

  27. Remember the citizens have a voice: it is called voting. Maybe it is time for a new judge or mayor….

  28. This is why I hate brenham so much!!! This town takes everything as a joke.. Wait till the last minute till the whole town is sick smh!! Do a better job!!!!

  29. Thank you Judge Durrenber! Finally someone making decisions based on fact and not fear.

    1. 5 people in a county as small as Washington county is a lot. The numbers will go up also. A shelter in place order is for the protection of the residence of the county.

      1. Washington County’s population as if July 1, 2019 is 35,882. It encompasses 622 square miles. I wouldn’t call that “small”

        1. FYI: 2 of the 6 people live in other counties and work in Brenham. So it is very possible they brought the virus in from the county they live in.

    2. Personal opinion here, but if you aren’t a little bit afraid you aren’t paying attention

  30. Will someone that works with these officials, please get them to rethink this. This viruses has a long transmission period… We’re not seeing the full scope yet. Businesses aren’t shutting down until they’ve already allowed exposure to their employees and their customers. Not to mention that they’re all handing out letters to their employees claiming that they are essential… For no good reason. Most of these companies could shut down for a month and it wouldn’t hurt the effort to combat this pandemic. It’s human nature we’re up against, and yes, people do need to be told what to do… Not to mention it’s in your job description as an elected official.

      1. I agree with you a 100 percent.
        Is the Courthouse going to be open as usual for business ?
        Is the Churches going to be open for services?
        Is the Movie theatre going to be open for business.?
        Is the schools going to be open?
        Is the restaurants going to be open to eat in?

  31. Obviously Officials in Washington County have no clue. Watch the news. Look at the data. Look and see what other cities are doing. If you wait, your going to be to late. Why does it always take something bad to happen around here, before anything is done? Why can’t you be proactive and not reactive. I sure hope for the kids and elderly sake, people will take it upon themselves to stay home. Again, everybody around here is worried about a dollar, when actually everything around here is overpriced anyway, instead of worried about people’s safety and life’s saved. Priorities are in the wrong order. So what’s right like everywhere around us, and enact the order

  32. This is typical for Brenham/Washington County officials. “Proactive” isn’t in their vocabulary. At this point, I’ll be surprised if they do anything at all. Even after people start dying from this. I can tell you that voters WILL remember this come election time.

  33. The judge did not say that you could not stay home. He intends Washington County Residence to be responsible and act Rationally and not Panic. You can stay home as long as you want. It’s ok.

  34. I think it’s funny how many people want the government to take control of their lives rather than being responsible themselves. I agree with this decision. if you have an underlying condition don’t go out. people need to be responsible and can conduct their own shelter in place

    1. Country girl you missed it. The people that don’t stay in ARE the problem! They will keep infections here for awhile in the area. The ” I won’t get it” attitude will sink the boat. When I finally emerge I will get it from the people that didn’t follow the main medical guy for the country. Cause you know better than him.
      I don’t want to cramp your style.

    2. I was never in the military, but I do understand the necessity of following orders when lives are on the line. If a Commander and his troops find themselves behind enemy lines, he’s not going to issue recommendations on what his troops should do, he’s going to give them orders. In life and death situations, it’s good to have everyone in lockstep, that goes for civilians too.

    3. Most large employers in Washington County are not essential and would be shit down temporarily if the count issued a shelter in place order, it would keep home and safe so many thousands in the county who are IN DANGER today who work in retail, or making and selling ice cream, non-bank insurance products, mattresses, antiques, shoes and clothing, jewelry, florists, books, western wear, beauty and nail salons, etc. Please put public health and safety ahead of the economy! We may have bankruptcies and joblessness but we will survive the pandemic.

  35. “we can choose to panic, hoard supplies, and shut down the county, or we can choose to be rational”

    Well, panicking is bad, hoarding supplies is bad, and shutting down the county is a bit of an exaggeration.

    But this also isn’t choosing to be rational.

    It’s like this dude hasn’t even been paying attention.

    1. You are the one that is not got your facts right .
      The CDC wants all Americans to have a month supply of food in their home year around for emergencies. Not hording just smart.

  36. Brenham may be a small town but we are not an Exception To Any Rule or Virus!!! We are people to that are prone to getting this just by passing someone in the store. A Shelter In Place order seems Imminent!!! You making this announcement doesn’t look good for you Sir.

  37. Many people are totally ignoring the recommendations, even the individuals who are already quarantined, thus intentionally putting countless others at high risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. If you want things to get totally out of control and people to needlessly die, then carry on with weak “recommendations “ that aren’t being followed.

  38. Where is he getting his data? I think we all know. An this grandma is not giving up her life to pump money thru my heirs and into the current economy ! Time the current management think for themselves and not on the coattails of other irresponsible leaders. The only reason we don’t know of more cases here is because many are not being tested until their symptoms are too obvious to ignore. By that time they have exposed many more and the cycle continues. Yes the county coffers will suffer and times will be tough, so suck it up buttercup, it’s time to lead. All should stay home except for necessities.

  39. Let’s be realistic. I read the symptoms. I was sick. Couldn’t smell or taste. So it’s probably been here for a while. I don’t need to be told to stay home. I know what to do. Thank you for treating us like adults and letting us do this ourselves.

      1. I also had “all the symptoms” and was tested and didn’t have it so maybe don’t make assumptions

    1. Before you knew you were sick, how many people did you expose? How many did they expose? Where did you go before those symptoms appeared?

    2. Amen. Some don’t have the fundamentals to do or know what the “right thing” is actually.

  40. Apparently the 2-3% don’t matter until it comes for you or someone you love.

  41. I had a heart attack and am fine now but I am on blood thinners now SO I have a underlieing medical condition my doctor said. SO I have only left the house when it was absolutely necessary. The pe5i see in the drive thru at sonic are not there out of necessity. They need to have a judge issue a warning directly to them. I’m 55 and will be voting for a few years yet I hope, you won’t have my vote. It will change when someone dies in brenham. But that’s like going to buy a fire extinguisher when your house is on fire.

  42. Utterly irresponsible. A shelter in place order is not panic, it is the rational thing to do. If you act after your cases start exploding, you are too late.

    1. Jake, you are right on the money !!!!! Should shut down Wal Mart and HEB and make pick up and deliver only !!!!!3
      Guess we will wait until everything goes heywire ! Then we can shelter in place !!!!

      1. I agree with pick up only. Will definitely lower the spread of the Covid-19 to more people.

      2. On Houston KPRC TV channel 2 during their 10 o/clock news broadcast last night (Friday), they reported beginning on Monday, the independent contractor grocery delivery drivers are planning on going on strike.

        So with the suggestion to close down Walmart & HEB, NOW what if that trickles into Brenham — since HEB advertised free delivery to seniors????

    2. So is it his responsibility for you taking care of you own family? No sir! Take initiative and do what’s right for your situation. Personally, I’m going to do what is necessary to keep my family safe. Irregardless of what he says. Be responsible for yourself.

      1. Its not about him taking responsibility for my family. Its about the government’s responsibility to protect public health. Its actually one of the functions of government (yes it has a function). Yes, you can stay home, but government has a role to play in protecting people. FOr example, a stay at home order would hammer home the urgency of the situation to people who may otherwise have not taken it seriously.

        1. Ok, I’ve read enough of these remarks, I challenge anyone to find it in the Constitution, pr Bill of Rights where government is responsible for everyone’s health. News flash, it ain’t there. You people need to take responsibility for your’s., and your family own health, of you are scared, stay the heck home, jeez a wez!

          1. The success or failure of any government in the final analysis must be measured by the well-being of its citizens. Nothing can be more important to a state than its public health; the state’s paramount concern should be the health of its people.

            Franklin Delano Roosevelt

            My family has been staying home for the past 2 weeks. If everyone else in the city had done the same, then we would be able to get back to normalcy next week. Unfortunately, many people decided to act like it was spring break for 3 weeks, and now we’re going to see number of cases continue to go up until it’s taken seriously. I’m hopeful that it won’t get to the point where doctors aren’t having to decide which 18 of us get to use the ventilators we have.

    3. This is irresponsible on your part. This is a small community and could have which will spread more. Wake up.

Back to top button