More than a dozen members of Texas family test positive for COVID-19 after small birthday party

ARLINGTON, Texas — All 12 members of a Texas family who attended an informal birthday party Nov. 1 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and at least three other family members have fallen ill as well.

“The entire family decided, ‘OK, because a few of us are feeling ill, let’s all get tested.’ A total of 15 tested positive,” Alexa Aregonez, who did not attend her cousin’s party but did drop off her 57-year-old mother at the gathering, told WFAA.

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Enriqueta Aregonez, Alexa’s mother, is among those infected, as are two children, the TV station reported.

“I went to my nephew’s house and loved seeing my family, but now I’m fighting against COVID-19. Please protect yourself,” Enriqueta Aregonez pleaded in a video she recorded on her phone from her hospital bed, WFAA reported.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Enriqueta Aregonez was the only family member hospitalized, but she was admitted with pneumonia and spent another week at a second hospital to help control her labored breathing. She is now recovering at home but still requires oxygen and has not yet regained her sense of smell.

“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 Aregonez, whose own test for the virus came back negative, told the newspaper.

“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 added.

Meanwhile, both Alexa Aregonez and her sister work for the city of Arlington and asked its leaders to share a video on social media that features several members of their family describing their harrowing experiences with the virus in the hopes it will help their neighbors take COVID-19 infections more seriously.

“We were one of those families that took care of each other. We took every single precaution, with the exception of gathering,” Alexa Aregonez, 26, said in the video.

“My family always said it won’t be us. We protect ourselves. All we do is go to work and come back home. We wear a mask. We wash our hands, so it’s OK for us to congregate. … Your family is not immune. But by staying at home, you can prevent the spread of COVID-19. I plead for everybody to stay home,” she added.

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