KITCHENER -- Speaking publicly for the first time about her COVID-19 diagnosis, regional Chair Karen Redman's message was simple on Wednesday: continue to follow public health guidelines.

Redman announced on Jan. 12 that she had tested positive for COVID-19 following close contact with a family member.

Redman confirmed to CTV News Kitchener that she caught the disease from her husband.

"On a very personal level it became up close and personal and my husband and I sat down and said, 'have we talked to anybody, have we been with anybody?' and the reality was we hadn't," she said during the police services board meeting on Wednesday. Redman is the chair of the board.

She said that she and her husband started isolating on Dec. 24. She also acknowledged the increase in hospitalizations and ICU patients in the region, noting she and her husband were "very lucky" to have only experienced minor symptoms.

Still, Redman said the personal experience with the disease brought a new closeness to it.

"It causes you to stop and think on a very personal level, 'have you put anybody in jeopardy or at risk inadvertently?" she said.

After her experience, her message is simple: keep following public health guidelines.

Redman said she has three grandchildren who have been tested for COVID-19 because of suspected exposure in their classrooms. She pointed to essential and frontline workers who don't have a choice but to leave home and interact with people on a daily basis.

"Each of us can make a personal decision to decide that, if we follow public health guidelines, we stay in our household, as much as that is wearing thin after many months, it's the least we can do for the people that can't opt to stay home and the least we can do for our frontline essential workers," she said.

"Until we all have received the vaccine who opt to get the vaccine, we are going to have to continue to follow those public health guidelines."