Coronavirus is ablaze in West Texas as tourists flock to Big Bend and Marfa. Hospitals are running out of overflow options.

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Signs in some parts of Marfa discourage tourism to the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Sarah Vasquez for The Texas Tribune

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For Andrew Rubalcaba’s 39th birthday, he wanted to get out of town — but he also wanted to be safe.

So before Thanksgiving, he drove more than 500 miles west from his home in McKinney to visit Marfa and Big Bend National Park.