Ellen DeGeneres reveals she was surrounded by staffers when her assistant told her she tested positive for COVID-19

Libby Torres-Wed, January 13, 2021, 2:42 PM EST

  • Ellen DeGeneres opened up about her experience testing positive for COVID-19 on her first episode back since the diagnosis.
  • “Obviously there are a lot of negative things going on, so I wanted to talk about something positive: my COVID test,” the host joked at the beginning of her monologue.
  • DeGeneres revealed that she tested positive for the virus “before the holidays,” and was backstage getting ready for her show when her assistant told her the news.
  • “And then everyone around me ran away. It’s funny, people just really get scared,” the host said of the aftermath.
  • DeGeneres said that the “COVID safety team” on set informed everyone she’d been in contact with, and that she was now feeling better, despite suffering from debilitating back pain while ill.

Ellen DeGeneres got candid about her experience with COVID-19 during Wednesday’s episode of her eponymous talk show – the first episode back after the host’s diagnosis in December.

“Obviously there are a lot of negative things going on, so I wanted to talk about something positive: my COVID test,” DeGeneres joked in the opening monologue.

According to DeGeneres, she tested positive for the virus “before the holidays,” but she’s “all fine” now.

The host revealed that she was backstage getting ready for her talk show when she received news of her positive test.

“I was in hair and makeup… and then my assistant Craig walks in and says, ‘You tested positive for COVID,'” DeGeneres said.

“And then everyone around me ran away,” she continued. “It’s funny, people just really get scared.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/LYJcUC44Tnk

Per DeGeneres, she “left the studio immediately” to go quarantine at home, and the studio’s “COVID safety team” alerted everyone she’d been in contact with. The host told viewers that while she was mostly fine during her illness, she did experience a strange symptom.

“This is my experience with COVID – the first three days, I slept for 16 hours a day. And then, like on the fourth day, I woke up with back spasms, and I thought I’d pulled a muscle,” DeGeneres said.

The host said that even though doctors gave her painkillers and muscle relaxers, her back pain didn’t improve, and it even felt like she “cracked a rib.”

Eventually, though, DeGeneres said she was able to get treatment for her back pain, and didn’t experience any other common coronavirus symptoms like fever, headache, or loss of taste.

“Although I did wear Crocs with socks for a day, so you be the judge,” she joked.

DeGeneres concluded her monologue by saying that she’s better now, but she doesn’t know where she contracted the virus, and expressed her sympathy for others dealing with the illness, too.

“I know a lot of people out there are struggling with this illness. My heart goes out to all of them,” she said. “As always, I hope the show will give you some joy and brighten your day.”

ellen degeneres january 2020
Ellen DeGeneres, winner of the Carol Burnett award, poses in the press room at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Three producers of her daytime show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” have exited amid complaints of a difficult and unfair workplace environment. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello/AP

The host first shared news of her diagnosis on December 10, tweeting, “Hi Everyone, I want to let you all know that I tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, I’m feeling fine right now.”

“Anyone who has been in close contact with me has been notified, and I am following all proper CDC guidelines,” DeGeneres, 62, continued, referencing advice from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourages individuals who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus to stay home, separate from others, and contact those who may have been exposed.

Following DeGeneres’ diagnosis, production was halted on her talk show until January.

Warner Bros. Television, the studio behind DeGeneres’ show, also had six staff members with positive COVID-19 test results in the days before DeGeneres announced her positive test, according to Los Angeles’ Department of Public Health.

DeGeneres isn’t the only celebrity to have contracted COVID-19.

In March 2020, Tom Hanks became the first celebrity to go public with his diagnosis and since then others, including Kevin Hart, Hugh Grant, Idris Elba and Khloe Kardashian, have revealed they have tested positive.

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