Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was having moderate symptoms at home while quarantined.
Austin said in a statement Sunday night that he wants to participate digitally in crucial meetings and conversations in the next week “to the extent practicable.” In suitable circumstances, he added, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks would represent him.
Austin claimed he last met with President Joe Biden on Dec. 21, more than a week before he started to feel ill, and that he tested negative that morning.
“I notified my leadership team, as well as the President, of my positive test result,” Austin stated. “All persons with whom I have been into touch during the previous week have been contacted and tested by my team.”
Austin, 68, stated that he was completely vaccinated and had a booster shot in October. He claimed he sought a test on Sunday morning after having symptoms while on leave at home and prepared to stay in quarantine for five days if the results came back positive, according to CDC recommendations.
“The vaccinations work, and they will continue to be a medical need for our personnel in the military.” I continue to urge everyone who is eligible to receive a booster shot to do so. He stated, “This is still a preparedness issue.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, another member of Biden’s Cabinet, tested positive for COVID-19 in October.