Maddow had disclosed that she had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID, hence her hiatus.
The host didn't reveal at the time who it was, but said on Thursday evening that it had been her partner, the artist Susan Mikula.
The Nov. 19 show was Maddow's first since Nov. 6, as she has quarantined, solo, away from Mikula.
'At one point, we really thought it was a possibility it might kill her and that's why I've been away, ' Maddow said.
This is life or death! Fortunately, Maddow says it appears the worst is behind them. and Susan will likely recover.
"If you know anything about me off of TV, if you know me personally, then you know the foremost thing about me is that I am in love", she began. Instead, she said she has spent two weeks calling doctors and worrying about whether Mikula would survive her infection.
Maddow is not the first news host to share her personal experience with the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to warn viewers about the devastating impact of the virus. Maddow tested negative for the virus on the same day, she said. And, yeah, that's gonna suck, but that is going to suck so much less than you or someone in your family getting this and getting sick.
She then addressed the viewers who are considering travelling or hosting guests for the year's biggest family holiday next Thursday.
Rachel started off by saying that the 62-year-old photographer is the "center of my universe" before adding, "My relationship with Susan is the only thing at the end of the day that I would kill or die for without hesitation".
"There isn't room for you in the hospital anymore, broadly speaking, so for the sake of your country you really can't get sick and need to go to the hospital right now", she said Thursday. "For Thanksgiving next week, you really are just going to have it at home without people coming over". It'll be the person you most care about in the world and how can you bear that? She's recovering - she's still sick, but she's gonna be OK, and we're not scared any more like we were.
"You can't say, I'm willing to just get it myself and play the odds".
"This thing is scary as hell and whatever you've been willing to do to risk getting it, don't". "I would still give anything for that", Rachel said, while getting emotional. "Whatever you've been willing to do to risk getting it, just don't". But [the virus] does not give you that choice.
"It won't necessarily be you", Maddow continued. In October, several Fox News hosts had to quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus on a flight returning from a presidential debate in Nashville.