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


(Screengrab from City of Arlington video)

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

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.

โ€œItโ€™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,โ€ Alexa told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. โ€œOne, 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.โ€

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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