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18 family members test positive for COVID-19 following birthday party in Texas

Global News logo Global News 2020-06-25 Meaghan Wray
Jonathan Cheever et al. posing for the camera: A Texas family has suffered a COVID-19 outbreak after a surprise birthday party in May. © Ron Barbosa / Facebook A Texas family has suffered a COVID-19 outbreak after a surprise birthday party in May.

A thoughtful surprise birthday party is believed to have caused a family-wide coronavirus outbreak.

Following a surprise party on May 30, a Texas family has suffered 18 separate cases of positive COVID-19 diagnoses, ABC 8 reports.

Read more: Texas hits ‘pause’ on reopening as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations spike

It's believed that one relative, not knowing they were infected, interacted with seven others at the party. These seven members then spread the virus to 10 others.

Ron Barbosa, one of the family members, didn't attend the party that day, but his nephew hosted it.

"It wasn't that long. It was only a couple of hours," Ron Barbosa, a volunteer EMT, told the broadcast station. "But during that brief time, somehow the other 18 family members are now infected with COVID."

Barbosa's wife, a doctor, said they refused to go due to safety reasons.

Read more: At least 17 students test positive for coronavirus following 90-person trip to Myrtle Beach

"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Barbosa continued.

"We knew this was going to happen."

Barbosa added: "I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."

Those infected include two children, two grandparents, Barbosa's own parents and a cancer patient. Three have been hospitalized, including Barbosa's parents and his sister, Kathy, who is battling breast cancer.

Now, he can only speak to these family members by phone.

"That was the best medicine, you know," he told ABC 13 of restricted visitation rules. "They are in there by themselves, no family and you know, it's heartbreaking."

Kathy, Barbosa says, still caught the virus even though she was reportedly social distancing on the porch outside. She is recovering well, he added, but his parents aren't having the same luck.

His mother, Carole Barbosa, has been hospitalized since June 13, while his father, Frank Barbosa, has been in a hospital since June 17, he told ABC 13.

Read more: Couple hospitalized for coronavirus celebrate 65th anniversary

"My dad's hanging on by a thread," he said. "They're saying this is one of the last straws for my dad."

On Wednesday, the Texan posted a call-out on Facebook for plasma from COVID-19 survivors. A day later, he announced that his father had received plasma and is recovering.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca


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