Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Sunday morning that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Lloyd announced in a statement posted on Twitter that he requested a test Sunday, Jan. 2, after he experienced mild symptoms while home on leave. After testing positive, Lloyd will quarantine at home for five days in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave. My symptoms are mild, and I am following my physician’s directions. 1/7
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) January 3, 2022
Austin intends to attend meetings virtually throughout the week and will retain all of his authority, but Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will represent Austin as needed, the news release said.
Austin informed President Joe Biden and his leadership team of his positive test, and staff have already begun contact tracing. It’s been nearly two weeks since the secretary met with the president, which was more than a week before Austin first experienced symptoms. He had tested negative that morning.
The defense secretary was fully vaccinated and had received a COVID-19 booster in early October. According to the release, his doctor said Austin’s infection would have been significantly worse had he been unvaccinated.
“The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce,” Austin said. “I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue.”