By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — A grandmother had to spend her 101 birthday alone; relatives not even allowed to wave to her though a window. She is fully vaccinated along with employees of the nursing home, but with such a vulnerable population it doesn’t mean the challenges are over.

Birthdays are a big deal for Thelma Clark and her family.

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Here see is celebrating her 99th.

“Everybody’s so nice,” Clark said in a video from the party.

And last year, for the big 100, Thelma’s family greeted her through a window at the nursing home.

This year, the nursing home’s even been allowing in person visits.

“She loves being the center of attention,” said JaTonya Harris, Clark’s granddaughter.

Harris and other family planned to visit for her 101st this week.

But instead.

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“She spent her 101st birthday alone,” Harris said. “Apparently their new protocol is nobody is allowed out of their room, or sections until everything is cleared.”

She can’t visit her grandmother. The family says they can’t visit, not even through the window, because of a positive COVID case at the facility.

“She’s fragile so I think that for them, the liability that would come with us making them do this for us is just not something they’re willing to risk doing,” Harris said.

She says she appreciates the caution but wishes she could make a window visit.

But there is one thing that might brighten up Thelma’s birthday month after all.

Harris is asking anyone, whether you know Thelma or not, to send her a card at Avantara Evergreen Park.

“I can hear her talking, she’s not gonna stop talking about it because its gonna make her feel so incredibly special,” Harris said.

And after the past couple years, every special moment counts.

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A statement from the nursing home acknowledged that there are currently limitations on the on the number of visitors allowed in. They celebrated with Clark and plan to welcome the family back to celebrate with her at a later date.

Tim McNicholas