Cheryl Norton has been social distancing from her daughter, Kelsey Kerr, an ICU nurse, for the past month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When Kerr, 28, stopped by her mom's house in Blue Ash, Ohio, last Friday to pick up prayer squares for her patients, Norton, 64, said she could no longer not give her daughter a hug.
Norton grabbed a sheet from her laundry basket and draped it over Kerr in order to give her daughter a quick hug.
"I just want to know she’s okay so when I got that one opportunity to see her, I just had to throw that sheet over her," Norton told " Good Morning America." "I thought I want to hug her and if she has a sheet around her maybe I can do it."
"I see on social media that all these healthcare workers are feeling very isolated and I didn’t want that to happen her," she said.
Kerr, who lives about 15 minutes from her parents' home, said she had gotten as used to the drop-offs she and her parents have been doing while social distancing. Kerr would back her car into their driveway and they would put whatever she was picking up in the trunk of her car.
Her mom's spontaneous hug was then a special treat for Kerr.
"It was so nice," said Kerr, who is quarantining with her husband and their dog. "We've always been big huggers and it’s been pretty unusual to do these drop-offs and not get out of the car and be able to hug her."
The hug was captured on camera by a family friend, Liz Dufour, who is a photographer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and was walking in the neighborhood.
She took the photo from a safe distance away. Norton said she dropped the sheet in the garage after hugging her daughter and let it sit there for a few days before thoroughly washing it, and she also thoroughly washed her hands.
Kerr was also wearing a face mask at the time of the hug.
The family has been practicing strict social distancing because of Norton and her husband's ages and preexisting medical conditions and because of Kerr's potential close proximity to patients with the virus as a nurse.
Kerr said she has been working about four 12-hour shifts per week at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati in preparation for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients.
"Right now we're working hard to train as many people as we can to make sure we have enough staff to care for the patients we have both with coronavirus and our normal patient load," she said. "Everyone is always nice [on the staff], but there’s been an over pouring of kindness and a feeling that everyone is in it together."
Norton said it has been anxiety-provoking to watch hospitals in New York City and other cities overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and know that may happen at Kerr's hospital too.
"I thought in the moment that I’m not going to be able to hug her for a long time," she said.
Kerr said she and her hospital coworkers have had to learn not to hug or high-five either, and are instead encouraging each other with supportive words. She hopes people see "a little bit of sunlight" in the photo of her with her mom.
"There’s so much difficulty right now but we’re going to make it through it and we’re all going to be together in the end," she said. "It’s just a matter of getting there."
What to know about coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: coronavirus map