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COVID constrains Olds centenarian's 100th birthday party

100th birthday decorations were placed outside Jean Hertz's window, greetings relayed to her from outside
MVT 100th birthday lady-2
Long-time Olds resident Jean Hertz waves to her family during a 100th birthday celebration for her, held Jan. 10 at her home in Seasons Encore. Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — A 100th birthday celebration for an Olds resident this week didn't go quite as originally planned, due to a COVID-19 lockdown and the fact the birthday girl herself tested positive. 

Plans had called for Jean Hertz’s birthday celebration on Jan. 10 to include a cake-cutting. Congratulatory letters from Queen Elizabeth II and Governor General Mary Simon had been obtained for presentation as well. 

However, late last week, the Seasons Encore retirement facility where Hertz lives in Olds went into a COVID lockdown and Hertz herself tested positive for the virus. 

So her family was forced to go with Plan B. 

Colourful birthday decorations were set up in the snow outside her window. 

Then Hertz, decked out with a 100th birthday sash and tiara, got up as close to the window of her unit as possible with help from her son Kevin as her daughter-in-law, Vicky Hertz gave her birthday greetings. 

Vicky’s mom, Margaret Gardner, 83, waited in a nearby vehicle.  

Hertz made the best of it, agreeing to do a brief interview by phone as Vicky wished her a happy 100th birthday. 

“How are you?” she was asked. 

“I’m all confused. Too much excitement,” she replied. 

"How does it feel to be 100?” she was asked. 

“Well it’s just numbers, really, I don’t know,” Hertz said.  “Everybody’s making such a big fuss.” 

Additional safety precautions are being taken at the facility which had been added to the province's outbreak list last week.

Hertz said the lockdown has been pretty frustrating for her but she’s looking on the bright side of the situation, adding she’s hoping to celebrate again in June when hopefully the whole family can do so with her in person. 

Hertz was amazed with all the celebrations for her special day, 

“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it," she said. 

She was impressed when Kevin and Vicky said they’d brought champagne. 

Vicky gave a shoutout to Seasons Encore staff. 

“These guys have been great and it’s just because she tested positive that we couldn’t go in,” she said, adding she could have gone inside too but wanted to stay near her mom. 

Hertz was a registered nurse. Her husband, Alexander Hertz, was a dentist in town. He passed away in 1973. The couple raised five children who provided them with seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Doug Collie

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