A PLUCKY pensioner has become a care home hero after surviving Covid-19.

Derrick Hewitt, 91, was the only resident at the Cedars care home, in Halstead, to contract the killer virus.

He was in isolation for two weeks, but bravely fought back and amazingly survived.

He said: “I didn’t feel well, and was lonely at times. But staff treated me well and visited me often – and I slept a lot.”

Now staff say he has become a “poster boy” for the home.

Deputy manager Lorraine Cox said: “He tested positive for the virus but pulled through.

“He’s kind of become our poster boy at the home as he was our only positive case.”

The care home has revealed how it fought to remain Covid-free during the pandemic.

Lorraine and manager Ernest Joseph led the home, on Sudbury Road, through the crisis.

She said: “When Covid-19 first struck we immediately set up a decontamination area and all our staff were given a bum bag with bottles of hand sanitiser.

“Staff leave their uniforms here overnight rather than taking them home and we make sure to have them washed and dried for the next day.

“We also had to be thorough in separating residents.

“We understand that it can be depressing for them to not see their loved ones.

“We had staff to help them use FaceTime to see relatives and we allow loved ones to come to the window to talk.

“We have had a lot of training from Essex County Council and we’ve got instructions up all over the care home.

“We even have a little song to sing for 20 seconds when washing hands.”

The home also conducts regular tests on residents and staff.

Lorraine said: “I think a lot of our success has come down to PPE. We also have two buildings. We have the Cedars and the Meadows so we took the decision to separate our staff which helped minimise cross-infection.

“At the Cedars we made sure we were hot on the heels of the virus and we managed to make sure our decontamination room was built in a day.

“We have also been fortunate to have co-operation from residents and their families.

“More than anything else, they want us to protect their loved ones.

“We’ve also been floored by the community who have really come to our support.

“There have been donations of masks and PPE as well as cakes and flowers.”

Lorraine also paid tribute to staff for stepping up during the pandemic.

“Our staff have been simply incredible,” she said. “Without them I have no doubt that we wouldn’t be Covid-19-free.

“They had a choice to self-isolate or to work and they carried on. The number of staff who stayed was amazing and I take my hat off to them.

“People forget just how many people work in a care home.

“They forget we’ve got kitchen staff, domestic staff and cleaning staff. They all shoulder a big responsibility.”