AUSTIN – Eighteen members of a North Texas family tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a surprise birthday party in late May.
Only one member of the family unknowingly had the virus at the time of the party, WFAA reports.
“We knew this was going to happen. I mean this whole time this has been going on we’ve been terrified,” Ron Barbosa told WFAA.
Barbosa, who is a volunteer EMT, and his wife, a doctor, chose not to attend the party, which was hosted by his nephew, due to safety reasons. Barbosa said that his family suspects his nephew, who had a slight cough at the time of the party, was the family member who was unknowingly infected after possibly being exposed at work.
Those infected include two young children, Barbosa’s elderly parents and his sister, who is battling breast cancer.
Barbosa’s father, Frank, was admitted to the hospital on June 17 and placed in the intensive care unit soon after, where he remains.
Barbosa told WFAA that his father is in need of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, who have established antibodies. “If you’ve recovered go donate your plasma,” Barbosa .
While it appears that most of Barbosa’s family is on the road to recovery, the experience serves as a warning for what could happen even when proper safety precautions are attempted. Barbosa says all 25 people who attended the party attempted to remain socially distant, and not all of the attendees were there for the entirety of the party.
However, in reference to a photo taken at the party, he also told BuzzFeed, “My message is that if you’re going to see family and they don’t live with you, mask up and keep your distance. I want everyone to be with their loved ones. I just want everybody to be cautious and not try to take pictures and selfies with a group of 20 people.”
In Texas the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, with 5,996 new cases reported Thursday, following two days of record highs. The state also broke its record for hospitalizations for the 14th day in a row Thursday, with state health officials reporting 4,738 patients in Texas hospitals.
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