A NEW Lodge woman has returned home after battling Covid-19 in hospital for over five weeks.

Mary Butler (76) was greeted with cheers and applause by neighbours and family as she was welcomed back to her Spamount Street home on Friday afternoon.

Mary had complained of a sore ear at the end of March before her symptoms worsened and spent 15 days on a ventilator fighting the disease.

Her granddaughter Lyndsay Butler explained: “She was complaining of an ear infection at the end of March. She got worse at the start of April and was kept in the Royal Victoria Hospital on a ventilator.

“She then moved to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) in the City Hospital and in total, spent 15 days on a ventilator.

“We were told at one stage she was critically ill and might not pull through. The next day, we got a phone call that she has improved a small bit and from there, there was a small bit of good news everyday."

Lyndsay paid tribute to the hospital staff. “The nurses have been fantastic," she said.

“It has been a terrible time. Everyone was distraught. We had been preparing for the worse.

“It has been a whirlwind for me too, with my baby due in ten days.”

Lyndsay says her granny faces a long road to recovery at home and is warning others to continue to take the deadly virus seriously.

“She is not completely better yet. She has been in hospital for five-and-a-half weeks and they say every day you are in a coma, it takes a week to recover from.

“As a family, we took the virus very serious from the start. My granny didn’t leave the house and we were being so cautious. It was a complete shock when she tested positive.

“She didn’t have any of the usual symptoms like a dry cough or fever. All she had was a sore ear at the start."

And the New Lodge woman had strong advice for those thinking of flouting the Covid-19 restrictions. 

“People need to continue to take it serious," she said.  "As a family, we have experienced it personally with our granny and I would advise others to do the same.”