A North Texas family has seen 18 relatives test positive for the coronavirus after some members of the family attended a surprise party late last month. Two of the 18 relatives to test positive are grandparents and a third is a sister battling breast cancer. The Barbosa family's story came as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday he will "pause" the state's reopening due to a "massive outbreak" in the Lone Star State.
Ron Barbosa's nephew hosted a 30th birthday party for Barbosa's sister-in-law on May 30. The nephew did not know he was infected and thought his "slight cough" was just due to his construction work, Barbosa told WFAA. Before the party, the nephew played golf with members of the family who went to the party, which Barbosa did not attend. He said his family tried to socially distance themselves but Barbosa shared a photo from the party of family members close together.
Barbosa believes the party was where his family likely contracted the virus. "It wasn't that long. It was only a couple of hours," Barbosa told WFAA. "But during that brief time, somehow the other 18 family members are now infected with COVID." Barbosa is a volunteer EMT and married to a doctor. The couple did not attend out of concern for their own safety, but they believed the party followed the state's health guidelines at the time. Twenty-five people attended, and none of them were all there at the same time.
"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Barbosa said, adding he and his wife "knew this was going to happen, I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified." The relatives infected include two young children, Barbosa's parents, two grandparents and Barbosa's sister, who is battling breast cancer. His parents and sister are fighting COVID-19 in a hospital. Barbosa said his father needs blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.
The other members of his family are "mostly" recovering, Barbosa said. "We were horrified. People couldn't believe that they took it to a family member," he said of the family's situation. "But now, we're holding on together."
On Wednesday, Abbott told KFDA-TV there is a "massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state," adding, "Today will we have 5,000 people test positive, again, as well as more than 4,000 people hospitalized because of it." Abbott said his administration is "looking at greater restrictions," which could reverse Texas' reopening plan. Texas had been continuing reopening despite the growing numbers of hospitalizations. The number of hospitalized patients is almost double what it was on June 14, reports CBS News.
Abbott also released a statement Thursday, telling Texans there will be a "temporary pause" in reopening to "help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business." Texas reported 5,551 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, setting a one-day record. There have been 2,249 deaths from the virus in Texas.