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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: UT staff member dies following battle with COVID-19

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Thursday, Oct. 8.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new blog here.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus and COVID-19 news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's Oct. 8 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 777,500 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 16,200 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 30,070 cases have been reported and at least 437 people have died. At least 28,948 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: More than 6,010 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 55 people have died. At least 4,959 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 8,890 cases have been reported in the county and at least 144 people have died. More than 8,550 people have recovered from the virus.

Updates:

6 p.m. – The positivity rate average for the Austin metro area is now at 2.75%, while the weekly average for new cases in the metro area is down 25% from a week ago.

Austin-Travis County eclipsed 30,000 COVID-19 cases today, with 30,075 confirmed since the start of the pandemic. There have been 785 deaths from COVID-19 in the KVUE Central Texas viewing area. 

5:50 p.m. – Austin-Travis County health officials add 78 new cases and one more death. There has now been a total of 30,075 cases, 28,948 recoveries and 437 deaths reported.

5:35 p.m. – University of Texas President Jay Hartzell confirms the death of a UT staff member in a letter to students published Thursday:

Dear UT Community,

Today, I received the very sad and painful news that one of our staff members passed away after a short battle with COVID-19. This staff member — who we are not yet naming out of respect for the family’s privacy — was beloved by many in our community and had spent a decade on the Forty Acres, working tirelessly behind the scenes in Utilities and Energy Management to ensure that our university could operate at the very highest level. Our hearts and minds are with the family, friends and co-workers of our colleague, who are now grieving this terrible loss.    

Our Utilities and Energy Management team member has not been on campus since mid-September and is believed to have contracted COVID-19 off campus. The university’s contact tracing has not found any spread of COVID-19 within our community related to this case. But it is vital that we remain as vigilant as ever in our commitment to mask wearing, social distancing, proactive community testing and all other measures related to combatting this disease. There can be no letup — until there is a vaccine, we have to protect our own health and that of others, particularly those most vulnerable.   

Our nation has lost over 200,000 lives to COVID-19, but when we lose one of our own — a proud member of Longhorn Nation — it hurts on the deepest possible level. Again, the thoughts and love of our entire community are with the family of our wonderful colleague, whom we lost far too soon. Please think of them today.

Sincerely yours,

Jay Hartzell

5:30 p.m. – The Hays County Local Health Department reports 10 new lab-confirmed cases and 77 additional people are now considered recovered. The total number of individuals considered recovered is 4,959. Deaths remain at 55.

Williamson County is now reporting a total of 8,894 confirmed cases, 8,558 recoveries and 144 deaths.

4:45 p.m. – Texas reported 3,786 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 781,794, with the weekly average up 1% from a week ago. There were 104 new deaths statewide, bringing the total to 16,334.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Texas are rising, with 3,556 statewide as of Thursday. The state's positivity rate average is at 6.63%.

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