ABC News Reporter Kaylee Hartung Tests Positive for Coronavirus After Covering Outbreak in Seattle
The reporter said she initially thought her symptoms were from allergies
Hartung, 34, shared her experience on Good Morning America on Wednesday, revealing that she received her positive test on Monday after first experiencing symptoms last Thursday.
While the reporter said that the virus “was something that really knocked me off my feet for a day,” she said that her symptoms were ones that she’d normally try to power through.
“It really all started with a runny nose about a week ago, and that was four days after I spent a week in Seattle covering the initial outbreak of the virus in the U.S.,” Hartung told GMA anchor Robin Roberts. “So last Wednesday, it was just a runny nose. I honestly thought it was allergies. I didn’t think it was anything more than that.”
“I woke up the next morning, just last Thursday — and you know when you wake up, and you know something’s wrong immediately? You just feel it in your body. I’ve had the feeling before when I’ve had the flu, when my body is just broken down when I’ve gone too hard and have been run down. I knew something was off as soon as I woke up, and that’s when I started consulting medical professionals,” she said.
But Hartung’s health care provider initially told her that she wouldn’t be able to get tested because her symptoms were too mild.
“I was defeated, confused, I didn’t know where to turn and what to do, and my healthcare provider actually called me back, and said ‘upon review of your case, because of where you’ve been, we do want you to get tested,'” Hartung explained.
Hartung said that she initially thought her symptoms were “nothing,” because she wasn’t experiencing “the symptoms that were being so closely associated with coronavirus.”
“I wasn’t having any sort of a dry cough, I didn’t have any shortness of breath, and I didn’t feel any pressure on my chest,” she said, adding that instead she felt “fatigued” and “had a headache just right between the eyes. I was congested, I had body aches in places that I wasn’t used to having them, my lower back was really hurting.”
Hartung said that she even felt some guilt at being one of the select few people who have been able to be tested for COVID-19.
“We’ve all heard that these test kits are so valuable, that there aren’t enough for all the people who want to get tested. I’ll tell you, I feel guilty that I’m someone who was able to get one,” she told Roberts, emphasizing that because she had been in Seattle, it made her case a priority.
On her Instagram Stories Wednesday, Hartung told her followers that she wasn’t given any medication, but had been taking Tylenol and Nyquil. She added that now that she’s nearly a week out from the worst of her symptoms, she’s feeling “just fine.”
She also described the testing process to her followers.
“The test isn’t pleasant, but it happens quickly!” she wrote on Instagram. You’re swabbed up both nostrils twice. This is the most uncomfortable part. It’s a very strange sensation. Then your throat is swabbed.”
In the caption for a post sharing her GMA interview, Hartung said that she hopes people can learn from her experience.
“The quicker we get serious about social distance, the quicker we’ll all get through this. ❤️” she added.
As of Wednesday, there are now at least 5,881 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States.
At least 107 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness, an increase of 21 over the last 24 hours.
The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness — what is now known as COVID-2019, a form of coronavirus — began in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.