ABC News Staffer With Coronavirus Hopes to Be a "Reality Check" for People With "Mild Symptoms"

ABC

Kaylee Hartung explains how she felt after covering the outbreak in Seattle and what medical advice she received.

ABC News' Kaylee Hartung opened up about testing positive for the coronavirus during Wednesday's episode of Good Morning America.

Hartung spoke to Robin Roberts from her home in Los Angeles, where she is currently quarantined.

"I am feeling so much better. This virus was really something that knocked me off my feet for a day, but other than any of the lingering symptoms, every other time in my life where it was something, I would've just tried to push through," said Hartung.

She said that she had a runny nose about a week ago, which was four days after she returned home from working in Seattle. The Washington city is where the first coronavirus outbreak in the United States took place.

Hartung admitted that she originally thought her runny nose was due to allergies, though a few days later she woke up and she knew "something was wrong immediately." The reporter explained, "I've had the feeling before when I've had the flu. When my body's just broken down, when I've gone too hard and I've been run down. I knew something was off as soon as I woke up, and that's when I started consulting medical professionals."

The reporter added that she did not know whom she came in contact with that also has the virus. "We were in Seattle covering this story, but again, I don't know who that person was," she said. "I came back. I was feeling just fine. Had that runny nose the next morning, woke up and really was knocked off my feet. I was fatigued. I was not looking forward to getting out of bed."

In addition to a runny nose, Hartung had a headache "right between the eyes," was congested and had body aches. "I wasn't having the symptoms that were being so closely associated with the virus," she said. "It was easy for me at first to think this was nothing. 'This is not something to be concerned about.'"

Despite not having the symptoms commonly associated with the virus, ABC's doctor persuaded Hartung to get tested due to her being in Seattle. "I feel guilty that I'm someone who was able to get one," she said of the tests.

Hartung said that she called another health care provider, who told her that the symptoms were too mild for her to be tested. "I was defeated, confused. I didn't know where to turn, what to do," she said. "My health care 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.'"

"I hope that I can be a reality check for some folks out there who are having these mild symptoms," she added. "We all need to be listening to our bodies and recognizing there are no coincidences right now."

Now that she's been diagnosed, doctors have instructed Hartung to rest, hydrate and "let time pass." She added, "I'm being told to isolate for 14 days from the day when my symptoms really presented."

"If I'm being asked to stay inside for 14 days, think of if we all did that, if everyone who could really took this lockdown seriously, we could get past this so much faster," Hartung said. "That's my plea to everyone. Social distancing needs to be taken seriously. By the time you have symptoms, it's too late. You've already been capable of spreading this virus."

She added that she felt "tremendous guilt" about spreading the disease to others and she "had to make uncomfortable phone calls" to friends and colleagues that she had been in contact with after returning from Seattle.

"If you have the slightest hint that something's wrong, please take this very seriously and let's do everything we can to help each other through this," Hartung concluded.

Watch the full interview below.