'I just wanted to bust out and cry:' 100-year-old who beat COVID-19 sees family for first time in a year

WAKE FOREST, North Carolina -- The family of a nursing home resident in North Carolina surprised her with a 100th birthday celebration.

It's the first time that Irma Prevette's family has been able to get close to her, hug her and kiss her since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Because of a decline in new COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities in North Carolina, most facilities now meet the criteria to continue indoor visitations.

"It's been over a year since we've been able to see grandma," said granddaughter Michelle Ezzell. "Earlier, we could see her through the windows. But that's just not the same."

Prevette lives at Hillside Nursing and Rehab in Wake Forest. There were at least two COVID-19 outbreaks and 19 resident deaths there.

Prevette got COVID-19 and beat it. She is now fully vaccinated.

"I just wanted to bust out and cry," Prevette said. "I hadn't seen them in ages."

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Prevette's 80-year-old son, William Blake, got emotional when he saw his mom. Just over a dozen family members gathered at the nursing home for Prevette's birthday, which falls on St. Patrick's Day.

"It's great," Blake said. "I hadn't seen her in so long."

Prevette had six children. Two of them have died. She remarried after she lost her first husband. Her second husband has since died. Prevette has 15 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and more than a dozen great-great-grandchildren.

So what's the secret to her long life? Her family says she's tough, has a great sense of humor, even likes telling dirty jokes, and tries to eat well.

"I know she doesn't like salt on her food," Ezzell said. "She loves to play bingo. She loves to watch 'General Hospital,' and she loves word search puzzles. She loves those, so I guess that's the key to happiness."
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