Pentagon's Joint Chiefs In Quarantine After Coast Guard Officer Tests Positive
Most members of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff are quarantining at home after Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, tested positive for COVID-19, the military said Tuesday.
Ray is not a member of the Joint Chiefs, the nation's top military officers, but he was at Pentagon meetings last week with others who are.
It's not clear how Ray was infected, though he did attend a White House ceremony on Sept. 27, just one day after President Trump introduced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. Multiple people at that event contracted COVID.
"Out of an abundance of caution, all potential close contacts from these [Pentagon] meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement. "No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time."
It appears six of the seven members of the Joint Chiefs are quarantining, including the chairman, Army Gen. Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, Air Force Gen. John Hyten. The other members include the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the National Guard.
The Marine commandant, Gen. David Berger, was not at the meetings with Ray and is the lone member of the Joint Chiefs not in quarantine, according to the military.
However, the head of the National Security Agency, Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, was present at the meetings and will self-quarantine as well.
The members of the Joint Chiefs have homes on military bases in the Washington area, mostly near the Pentagon, which include secure communications.
"There is no change to the operational readiness or mission capability of the U.S. Armed Forces," Hoffman added. "We are conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.