Seven Pentagon staffers who were on a domestic tour of U.S. military bases with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks have tested positive for COVID-19, the Pentagon said Thursday.
The Defense Department workers, both civilian and military employees, had been tested for COVID-19 before the trip and were vaccinated, Reuters first reported.
They were tested at the end of the trip out of an ‘abundance of caution.’ Hicks herself has tested negative.
They accompanied Hicks on her reviews of military bases where officials focused on how next year’s budget dollars could expand capacity to take on increasingly aggressive counterparts in China and Russia.
The group traveled through Michigan, Colorado, Hawaii, California and Nebraska.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Hicks and her entire entourage followed CDC guidelines ‘including the stringent wearing of masks and social distancing where and when possible.’
The COVID-positive staff members are now quarantining, and Kirby said the Defense Department was tracing their possible contacts across hotels, bases and any ‘support personnel’ they could have exposed.
‘We continue to treat the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 with utmost seriousness and care,’ he stated.
Just yesterday, Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons became the 10th member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19 this week as the omicron variant has let to a spike in cases in Washington, D.C. and across the country.
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Source: Daily Mail