15 family members get COVID-19 linked to small birthday party in Texas

Southwest

Enriqueta Aragonez
(Courtesy: City of Arlington video/KXAN)

ARLINGTON, Texas (NewsNation Now) — More than a dozen family members in Texas contracted coronavirus after getting together to celebrate a birthday. Now, they are urging others to be cautious and hoping to amplify the message through a video recorded for the city.

In the minute-and-half video posted to the City of Arlington’s YouTube channel, family members from different generations share that they are COVID-19 positive and remind viewers of safety recommendations.

Alexa Aragonez, 26, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that her family weighed the risks of gathering but felt safe to gather especially “if they kept it within their small circle.”

While Alexa didn’t attend the Nov. 1 party, she dropped off her 57-year-old mom at the party. Eleven other guests were at the home— including one pregnant cousin and four children under the age of 12.

A few days later, Alexa’s mom Enriqueta Aragonez began feeling sick with symptoms similar to a cold but tested positive for coronavirus. Eventually, all 12 party guests tested positive and spread the virus to three more family members.

Enriqueta’s case was most severe, spending one week and a day in the hospital. The other family members experienced mild symptoms but lingering fatique and aches. Some of the children developed strong coughs.

“It’s scary to think that what if my entire family would have had the severe case and every single one of those 15 folks had to go to the hospital,” Alexa told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “One, I would feel guilty for taking resources from people that really do need it, and two, I would be at risk of losing my entire family.”

She says her family didn’t believe gathering with family was high-risk and had generally avoided restaurants, bars and even church. A tight-knit family, they had grown weary of the isolation and not seeing one another.

In the video for the city, the family expresses their regret for not listening to safety recommendations.

Alexa ends the video by urging residents: “Please, don’t be like my family and ignore the CDC guidelines. By staying apart, we can fight this virus together. The cure starts and ends with you.”

NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this story.

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