Washington, D.C.–Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday morning while at home on leave.
Austin requested the test after exhibiting symptoms at his home. He stated his symptoms are mild and is under a doctor’s care.
“In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days,” Austin said in a press release. “I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings and discussions required to inform my situational awareness and decision making. I will retain all authorities. Deputy Secretary Hicks will represent me as appropriate in other matters. 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 his last meeting with President Biden occurred on Tuesday, December 21, more than a week before he began to experience symptoms. He tested negative that very morning.
“As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status — and the booster I received in early October — have rendered the infection much more mild than it would otherwise have been. And I am grateful for that,” he stated.
He says vaccines work and will remain a “military medical requirement” for the workforce.
Austin is the principal assistant to President Biden in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council.