An eighth person has died of COVID-19 in Brown County, and in another development, a Brownwood Regional Medical Center employee has tested positive for the virus, health officials said Thursday.

The death was a female in her 80s, who was a family member of an employee of the nursing home who tested positive, a City of Brownwood press release states.

The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department received three negative test results Thursday, which were from community members not affiliated with the nursing home facility.

The total COVID-19 cases in Brown County remains at 55.

According to a BRMC press release:

Brownwood Regional Medical Center has learned that one of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member was unknowingly exposed to COVID from an individual outside of Brown County. The individual who exposed our staff member tested positive for COVID after contact with our staff member. Our staff member was not showing symptoms while working, but was quickly tested locally.

Per Center for Disease Control (CDC) protocol, healthcare workers may work after exposure if not showing signs or symptoms. However, they must wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Our staff member wore PPE with every patient they came in contact with and was not with any patient for a prolonged period of time. Per CDC guidance the proper PPE worn by the staff member and the short patient contact in each room are considered low risk exposures to the patients.

Working in coordination with the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department, we are following established CDC protocols to identify and communicate directly with any potentially exposed staff members or patients. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department has planned a follow up letter identifying the very low risk of exposure. The low risk of exposure does not require quarantine only self-monitoring of symptoms.

Brownwood Regional Medical Center continually works to be prepared for all types of infectious diseases such as measles, flu or new viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19). Your safety and the delivery of quality, compassionate care while you are in our hospital is our top priority.