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Ellen DeGeneres tests positive for COVID-19, says shes feeling fine right now – USA TODAY

Ellen DeGeneres has tested positive for the novel coronavirus but is “feeling fine right now,” she announced Thursday.

Production on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has been paused until January, a Telepictures spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY.

The television host, 62, said in a tweet that “anyone who has been in close contact with me has been notified, and I am following all proper CDC guidelines.” 

“I’ll see you all again after the holidays,” she added. “Please stay healthy and safe.” 

In October, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” became one of the first television productions to return to inviting a limited number of in-studio audience members since the coronavirus forced widespread shutdowns in the entertainment industry. Beginning Oct. 28, 40 fans attended the “Ellen” taping in person, while 70 more remained virtual. The studio generally holds about 300 audience members. 

Many of the show’s recent guests have made virtual appearances, though a handful have joined DeGeneres in the studio this month. Episodes with recent in-studio guests include Leslie Odom, Jr. on Dec. 9, Bryan Cranston on Dec. 4, Diane Keaton on Dec. 3, Lil Nas X on Dec. 2, and Justin Bieber on Dec. 1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have found that those with mild to moderate cases are infectious “no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began.”

DeGeneres has made headlines recently for claims of a toxic workplace environment on her show, and her sharply declining audience. 

Ratings for September’s premiere week of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” plummeted 38% from last year, suggesting the controversy over reports of a toxic workplace – which led to the firing of three top producers – has spilled over into dwindling fan support. 

Despite the controversy surrounding the host, DeGeneres won the E! People’s Choice Award for best daytime talk show in November.

“Thank you, from deep down in my heart,” DeGeneres told a virtual audience, crediting the award to her “amazing crew and amazing staff who make this show possible.”

She also thanked her fans for “sticking by” her.  “I cannot tell you how grateful I am and what this means to me. It’s more than I can possibly tell you. Especially right now.”

DeGeneres’ diagnosis comes as the United States faces soaring coronavirus cases and deaths. As of Thursday, the nation has seen more than 15.4 million cases and 289,970 deaths. 

The U.S. reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time Wednesday, a single-day toll worse than 9/11. The Johns Hopkins University data dashboard reported 3,124 deaths, breaking a record of 2,885 set just last week. New infections are also booming, and across the nation hospitals are running out of beds, prompting stay-at-home orders in some places and mask mandates in 38 states.

Contributing: Gary Levin, John Bacon and Elinor Aspegren

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