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18 family members diagnosed with coronavirus after surprise party in Texas

After a surprise birthday party, the coronavirus spread through a large Texas family infecting 18 people.
/ Source: TODAY

A surprise birthday party last month has ended up with 18 members of a Texas family being diagnosed with COVID-19, including a couple in their 80s and a cancer patient.

Ani Stone and Ron Barbosa told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that their parents, Carole and Frank Barbosa, who are in their 80s, are among the family members fighting the coronavirus.

Both have been hospitalized for at least a week. While Carole is hoping to be home soon, Frank is in the intensive care unit, according to their children.

Barbosa wrote on Facebook Wednesday that his father received a crucial plasma infusion from recovered COVID-19 patients who had antibodies.

"Prayers were answered today,'' he wrote. "Now he needs to get well for mom and the Barbosa Family. Please continue to give plasma after you have recovered from Covid! The waiting list is growing every hour and you will save a life!!"

The couple, who have six children, 26 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, hope to celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary together on July 26.

“That’s all we want is for them to just be home," Stone told NBC DFW.

Barbosa told local station WFAA that a surprise 30th birthday party on May 30 for his daughter-in-law led to 18 family members being diagnosed with COVID-19. He said the party was hosted by his nephew, who did not know at the time that he had coronavirus, and included about 25 people showing up at different times.

Barbosa, who is a volunteer emergency medical technician and married to a doctor, did not attend the party.

"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Barbosa told KENS. "We knew this was going to happen, I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."

Those infected also include his sister, Kathy, who is also undergoing chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer but is thankfully in recovery from COVID-19.

The spread of the illness among the family comes as cases have spiked in Texas to the point that Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that the state is pausing its latest reopening phase and suspending elective surgeries.

Texas health officials reported a record 4,389 hospitalizations and 5,551 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while the national number of new coronavirus cases was a record 45,557 on Wednesday, according to a tally by NBC News.