Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is exhibiting “mild” symptoms.
“I have informed my leadership team of my positive test result, as well as the president,” Austin said in a statement issued Sunday. “My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all those with whom I have come into contact over the last week.”
Austin said he will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and stay at home for the next five days while working virtually.
The secretary said he met with President Biden on Dec. 21 and tested negative earlier that day. Austin said the last time he was in the Pentagon was Thursday, when he “met briefly and only with a few members of my staff.”
“We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout,” he said.
Austin credits getting vaccinated and the booster shot for his only experiencing mild symptoms.
“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 said. “The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce.”