“I have informed my leadership team of my positive test result, as well as the President. My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all those with whom I have come into contact over the last week,” Austin said.
Austin said he last met with President Joe Biden on December 21 and tested negative that morning. He said he was last in the Pentagon on Thursday. “I met briefly – and only – with a few members of my staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout,” Austin said.
“To the degree possible, I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings and discussions required to inform my situational awareness and decision making. I will retain all authorities,” Austin said.
Austin also touted the benefits of the vaccine. “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.”
“The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue,” he added.
This story has been updated with additional background.