Alexa Aragonez of Arlington dropped off her mother at a family birthday party recently, and within days, all 12 of them tested positive for COVID-19.
“We all thought, ‘Hey, we all take care of ourselves, we just go to work and go home and that's all we all do,’" Aragonez said.
So they got together for fajitas and fun on Saturday two weeks ago.
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"It was two days tops that we started getting symptoms,” cousin Mayra Hernandez said. “By Monday, we knew."
Hernandez also got sick.
"I didn't have any fever at all but I was sweating a lot. Really sweaty,” she said. “Headaches, really bad headaches. I couldn't open my eyes for three days."
The cousins’ older aunt had it even worse and ended up in the hospital for a week. She's doing better now and was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
All 12 people who were at the party got sick. They went home, and soon three more family members were infected, they said, for a total of 15.
Their advice for families thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving together: Don’t do it.
It’s a suggestion seconded by health experts who worry about soaring hospital admissions caused by large family reunions.
"You almost have to treat them as people from the outside, which means you're going to have to wear masks even indoors,” said Stephen Love of the DFW Hospital Council. “You should physical distance. You probably should eat at separate tables."
This family said their story is proof of what can happen.
"We couldn't believe it,” Hernandez said.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.