BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel made her first public appearance Friday since being diagnosed with coronavirus in late March.

Bharel, who appeared alongside Gov. Charlie Baker during the administration’s daily coronavirus briefing at the State House, addressed her four-week-long absence that had her answering emails and calls remotely.

“Having been infected with COVID-19 and thankfully recovered, I know first hand the impact of this virus,” she said. “For most of us, we have never been confronted with a virus that is as infectious or had this degree of impact on our daily lives.”

Her husband, a healthcare worker, and their children were also diagnosed with the disease and were isolated in their home.

Bharel said she experienced a fever, muscle aches, and fatigue before the diagnosis and thought it was due to lack of sleep and many hours of work. She was cleared by her local board of health to return to work last week.

She said experiencing the virus firsthand taught her a lot.

“Fortunately I did not need to be hospitalized. I have thankfully recovered. People can and do recover and we need to remember that,” she said.

Bharel plans to participate in studies underway that can help those diagnosed with the disease.

She encourages other survivors to do the same.

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