Ellen DeGeneres returned to television on Jan. 13 and used the opening monologue of “Ellen” to explain how she learned about her positive COVID diagnosis on set, which caused production on the daytime show to halt.
“I was getting ready to tape the show, and I was in hair and makeup, getting my face powdered and my extensions put in, and then my assistant, Craig, walks in and said, ‘You’ve tested positive for COVID,’” DeGeneres said. “And then everyone around me ran away. It’s funny, people just really get scared and they ran. Some have not come back since. So anyway, I left the studio immediately and our COVID safety team informed everyone I had been in contact with. They told [executive producer] Andy Lassner and he ran at full speed off the lot, which is amazing — I didn’t realize you could run.”
“I went home, obviously, I had to to quarantine,” she continued. “Portia [de Rossi] made me sleep in a different room on a different bed because she wanted the race car bed all to herself. The first three days, I slept for 16 hours a day. And then on the fourth day, I woke up with back spasms. It just persisted and the doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers.”
DeGeneres announced her diagnosis on Dec. 10, writing on Twitter, “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.”