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SAN ANTONIO (KENS5) — A 30-year-old patient died after going to a “COVID Party,” according to Dr. Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital.

“This is a party held by someone diagnosed with the COVID virus, and the thought is that people get together to see if the virus is real if anyone gets infected,” Appleby said. 

Appleby said a member of her staff told her the story this week.

“Just before the patient died, they looked at their nurse and said, ‘I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not,'” Appleby said. 

She said many of the critically ill patients being treated at Methodist Hospital for COVID-19 are in their twenties or thirties, which is a developing trend across the San Antonio area.

San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg said 25% of the positive cases in Bexar County are made up of young adults.

“We’re in a period of very high community transmission,” Nirenberg said. “If you’re having a party with people who aren’t part of your social circle in your household, it has the potential to be a COVID party whether you like it or not.”

Appelby says she hopes that, in sharing this patient’s story, she can help people realize the severity of the virus.

“This is just one example of a potentially avoidable death in a young member of our community, and I can’t imagine the loss of the family,” Appleby said. “We’re here to help you. At the same time, we hope that you don’t need our help. Please wear a mask, stay at home when you can, avoid groups of people and sanitize your hands.”