Defense Secretary Austin says he has tested positive for

Austin said, “I have notified my leadership team of my positive test result as well as the president. My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all the people I have been with last week.” came in contact.”

Austin said he last met with President Joe Biden on December 21 and that morning his test was negative. He said he was last at the Pentagon on Thursday. “I met with — and only briefly — a few members of our staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced,” Austin said.

Austin said he would stay at home for the next five days “in accordance with CDC guidelines.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week shortened the recommended time when people test positive for Covid-19 should isolate from 10 days to five days if they do not have symptoms – and if they do not. Others wear a mask all around for at least five more days.

“As much as possible, I plan to participate in the important meetings and discussions this coming week that are essential to my situational awareness and decision-making. I will retain all officers,” Austin said.

Austin also spoke about the benefits of the vaccine. “As my doctor explained to me, my fully vaccinated status – and the booster I received in early October – has made the infection much milder than it should have been. And I’m grateful for that.” ”

“Vaccines work and will continue to be a military medical need for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone who is eligible for a booster shot. It’s a readiness issue,” he said.

In August, the Pentagon mandated that members of US military service be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, a handful of Republican governors have pushed against mandates for members of the National Guard in their states. Members of the Oklahoma National Guard should get vaccinated against COVID-19, a federal judge ruled last week, rejecting requests from the state’s Republican governor and others to halt the military’s vaccine mandate.

This story has been updated with additional background.

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