Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tests positive for COVID-19

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Austin, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, said:  “I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave.”  He added that his symptoms are mild and he is following his physician’s directions, referring to the CDC’s recently-updated isolation guidelines: “In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days.”

Austin said he will be attending virtual meetings if possible while in quarantine: “I have informed my leadership team of my positive test result, as well as the President. My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all those with whom I have come into contact over the last week.” Austin said that his last meeting with President Biden was on Dec. 21, “more than a week before I began to experience symptoms. I tested negative that very morning. I have not been in the Pentagon since Thursday, where I met briefly – and only – with a few members of my staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout.”

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