Ellen Learned She Tested COVID Positive on Set: ‘Everyone Around Me Ran Away’

The Ellen DeGeneres Show marked a late finish to its annual “12 Days of Giveaways” on January 12, when host DeGeneres returned for the first time after testing positive for COVID-19 in December. DeGeneres’s positive test derailed the show’s end-of-year schedule, coming after she’d only completed 11 days of giveaways. And because “11 Days of Giveaways” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, she brought back that same audience that would’ve been there in December for her first show back (all virtually again, though). “Obviously there are a lot of negative things going on, so instead I’m going to talk about something positive: my COVID test,” she opened her monologue. DeGeneres went on to explain that she learned about her test at her studio, ahead of filming. “I was in hair and makeup, getting my face powdered and my extensions put in,” she joked. “And then my assistant Craig walks in and said, ‘You tested positive for COVID,’ and then everyone around me ran away. It’s funny, people just really get scared, and they ran. Some have not come back since.”

DeGeneres also spoke about her symptoms, namely the back pain she previously talked about in a video she tweeted. “The doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers — jackpot, finally this thing is paying off,” she said, going on to describe the pain. “You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That’s what it was like for me. Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh.” The back pain, she added, was “the only symptom” she experienced. (COVID-19 is reported to cause muscle aches, which can include back pain, according to Prevention.) “I didn’t have a headache; I didn’t have a fever; I didn’t lose my sense of taste,” DeGeneres continued. “Although, I did wear Crocs with socks for a day, so you be the judge.” She concluded her monologue by telling her audience she didn’t know where she caught the virus (“I only lick three or four door handles”) and that her “heart goes out” to everyone coping with COVID-19. “I hope this show will give you some joy, brighten your day,” DeGeneres said.

Ellen Learned She Tested Positive for COVID-19 on Set