Bryant family self-isolating for weeks just to visit grandma for holidays

The Hammond Family is stocking up on all the necessities, so they can stay home from Dec. 1 to Dec. 21, before visiting their nanna.

BRYANT, Ark. — As COVID-19 becomes more of a concern, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, some families are creating actual strategies to safely spend time with their loved ones.

“She’s our nanna, she’s the only one we have,” said Ellen Hammond, a Bryant woman who’s planning a trip to her grandmother’s house this Christmas.

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Maudi Salyer is Hammond’s nanna, she’s also the glue of her family.

Salyer is 93 and full of love, but this year, just like for many of us, life has thrown some curveballs.

“We haven’t seen her in so long,” said Hammond. “We just want to make up for lost time.”

Hammond hasn’t seen her nanna since the COVID-19 pandemic officially hit in March.

Now that the holidays are here, her family is going the extra mile to make their annual Christmas trip, and the planning starts now.

“On December 1st, we are going to be homebodies until the 21st, which will be three full weeks so we can go to nanna’s house on the 22nd,” said Hammond.

Hammond and her family will self-isolate. In the meantime, she’s stocking up on necessities, so she doesn’t have to leave her home and risk getting her nanna sick.

“We are going to have everything ready,” said Hammond. “I’ve been working meal plans, what we need from the grocery store. We’ve talked to our pharmacy about making sure we have all of our medications.”

She realizes not every family can go to such extremes to safely visit their loved ones this holiday season.

But, there are safety measures encouraged by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

ACHI encourages families to agree on COVID-19 risk reduction with family members, eliminate unnecessary exposures like shopping, dining out, and travel, and prior to holiday travel plans, get a COVID-19 PCR test.

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Hammond said these steps are all worth keeping yourself and those at risk safe, just like her nanna.

“You matter to someone,” said Hammond. “If the worst happened to you and you got sick and died from this, that person is going to miss you.”