A positive coronavirus test was “only a distraction” before appendix surgery, Stormont Agriculture minister Edwin Poots has said.
The DUP MLA tested positive while he was at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
He said he has not had any Covid-19 symptoms but has been “very obedient” with public health advice.
I knew that my appendix was leaking poison into my system and that was my only concern at that moment in time. Covid-19 was only a distraction in that respect.Edwin Poots
“I felt unwell Friday week ago, on the Saturday it got worse and on Sunday I went down to hospital, I had a burst appendix,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Farming Matters programme.
“So late on Sunday night I got operated on, and just before I went for the surgery I was told I had Covid-19 but I had no symptoms of, haven’t had any symptoms of and it’s not something that is causing me any grief whatsoever.
“Thankfully I am recovering from the operation and very grateful to all of the staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital for their care and the surgical team who provided the life-saving surgery.”
Mr Poots said he took two paracetamol on Saturday to “grind out the pain”.
“But the pain didn’t go away and probably I should have went on Saturday at some stage, then the appendix burst so I would encourage others to be wise if they have something which is deeply unusual because you know your own body,” he said.
Mr Poots insisted he remained focused on his surgery when he was told he had tested positive for coronavirus.
“I was gowned up and ready for surgery, and the only thing that I was interested in was getting surgery because I knew that my appendix was leaking poison into my system and that was my only concern at that moment in time,” he said.
“Covid-19 was only a distraction in that respect.”
Mr Poots said he is eating well, exercising and getting back to normal following his surgery.
“My Covid restrictions end on Wednesday so after that I’ll be out and about as usual,” he said.
“I have been very obedient in doing that.”
Agriculture and Environment Minister Edwin Poots tested positive for Covid-19 whilst he was in hospital recently for an appendix operation, a DUP spokesman has said. Mr Poots was tested twice, one test was negative and the other was positive. He is self isolating until Dec 16.— Rebecca Black (@RBlackPA) December 15, 2020
A DUP spokesman said Mr Poots was tested twice while in hospital.
“One test was a negative result and the other showed a positive result for Covid-19,” the spokesman said.
“So far, Mr Poots has not displayed any symptoms but is isolating until December 16.”
Mr Poots is believed to be the first Stormont Executive minister to test positive for the virus.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said she believes she had Covid-19 earlier this year.
She said doctors told her that she was probably infected with the virus in March and has been suffering with the after-effects since then.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Health Minister Robin Swann and Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin all self-isolated as a precaution in October after coming into contact with someone with the virus.
Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart previously spoke about his experience with Covid-19 in October, while SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan had it in September.