15 members of family get COVID-19 after small birthday party

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ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — A Nov. 1 birthday party is having some longer term effects for one family in Texas.

Alexa Aragonez, 26, tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that her family discussed their concerns before the party and decided they’d been careful enough.

While she didn’t attend, she dropped off her 57-year-old mom at the party, which included 11 other guests, including one pregnant cousin and four children.

A few days later, Alexa’s mom Enriqueta began feeling sick, took a test and tested positive for coronavirus. Eventually, all 12 party guests tested positive.

Enriqueta’s case was most severe: she spent one week and a day in the hospital. The other family members experienced mild symptoms, though 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.”

Alexa tested negative, but three more people — who were not at the party — were also infected due to guests who were.

She says her family didn’t believe gathering with family was high-risk and that they’d all grown tired of not seeing each other as regularly as they normally do.

Now, the family wants to get the message out to others: even if your family gatherings feel safe, it doesn’t mean they are.

They’ve appeared in a video for the City of Arlington, expressing their regret for not listening to safety recommendations.

“Now I’m in the hospital,” Enriqueta says sadly. “And I can’t see my family.”

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.”

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