Senior Pentagon leadership quarantining after exposure to coronavirus

The top US general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the Pentagon's senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN.

Posted: Oct 6, 2020 2:25 PM

(CNN) -- The top US general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the Pentagon's senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN.

The Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday.

"On Monday, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray, tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested the same day, after feeling mild symptoms over the weekend," the Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday.

"The Coast Guard is following established policies for COVID, per CDC guidelines, to include quarantine and contact tracing. According to CDC guidelines, any Coast Guard personnel that were in close contact will also quarantine. In accordance with established Coast Guard COVID policies, Admiral Ray will be quarantining from home," the statement said.

Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon in secure areas with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Multiple defense officials tell CNN that senior Pentagon leadership who had been in proximity to Ray have been tested and are awaiting results.

The self-quarantining by senior leadership goes beyond the Joints Chiefs staff due to exposure at multiple meetings in recent days, including a meeting in the Pentagon's secure meeting space for classified information known as "the tank," a defense official said.

"We are aware that Vice Commandant Ray has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he was at the Pentagon last week for meetings with other senior military leaders. Some meeting attendees included other Service Chiefs. We are conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission," Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, said in a statement.

"Out of an abundance of caution, all potential close contacts from these meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning. No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time," he added.

All but one member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is now self-quarantining. The commandant of the Marine Corps was not in the meetings with Ray; his deputy was in attendance.

As a precaution, Milley is working from home, a defense official says. Milley has so far tested negative. As President Donald Trump's top military adviser, he maintains a full classified communications suite in his house, the official said.

The Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, Charles Brown, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and the Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John Raymond, also are all working from home, according to several officials.

Additional officials working from alternate locations or from home include:

  • Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
  • Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army;
  • Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard;
  • Gen. Paul Nakasone, US Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency;
  • Gen. Gary Thomas, Assistant Commandant of US Marine Corps,

White House outbreak
The news comes after Trump staged a reckless departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, telling his followers that the virus that dangerously deprived him of oxygen and hospitalized him for 72 hours was nothing to fear before posing for a mask-less photo-op on the White House balcony.

At least 11 of the President's aides or allies have either contracted the virus or -- in the case of his daughter Ivanka -- are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump's aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.

In the White House residence where he was speaking without a mask, an already slimmed-down staff has been reduced even further after the President and first lady both came down with coronavirus. At least one staffer -- who is military personnel directly assigned to support the President in the Oval Office and residence -- tested positive over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, the prospect of the virus spreading among senior Pentagon leaders will likely raise additional national security questions, particularly given the military's role in attempting to reassure the American public following Trump's positive diagnosis last week.

In a statement issued Friday morning, the Pentagon sought to alleviate fears that Trump's positive Covid-19 diagnosis presented a potentially imminent threat to national security, emphasizing that the development did not warrant a change in defense alert levels or military posture.

"There's no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement," said Hoffman at the time.

"The US military stands ready to defend our country and interests," he added.

Hoffman reiterated that point again Tuesday, saying "there is no change to the operational readiness or mission capability of the U.S. Armed Forces."

"Senior military leaders are able to remain fully mission capable and perform their duties from an alternative work location. DoD has been following CDC guidelines since April with respect to temperature testing, social distancing, and the wearing of masks to the greatest extent when social distancing is not possible and will continue to do so," he said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Robinson
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 62°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 63°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 63°
Casey
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Brazil
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Marshall
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Clear & Cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

The COVID-19 booster shot

Image

Vigo County Veteran's Court graduates 40th member

Image

A little rain chance - and then nice. Here's look at the weekend forecast

Image

Terre Haute church works to collect items for evacuated Afghan kids

Image

The Paris Honey Bee Festival

Image

Explore Wabashiki

Image

Pow Wow Day in Vigo County

Image

Daviess County offers $5,000 to people to move to the community

Image

Workforce Fit

Image

Duke Energy plans to bring solar farms to Sullivan County

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1608825

Reported Deaths: 27176
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61448710970
DuPage1040741359
Will874621090
Lake772361061
Kane65993851
Winnebago39106545
Madison38249578
St. Clair35065570
McHenry33116316
Peoria26021362
Champaign25923183
Sangamon24663271
McLean21935208
Tazewell19792326
Rock Island17877346
Kankakee16821235
Kendall15501107
Macon14525244
LaSalle14520275
Vermilion13288190
Adams12718148
DeKalb11695129
Williamson11483159
Whiteside7925176
Jackson772889
Boone761282
Coles7381113
Ogle715787
Grundy702881
Franklin691399
Clinton682098
Knox6677164
Marion6559138
Macoupin649399
Henry624074
Jefferson6086132
Effingham608582
Livingston572896
Woodford555191
Stephenson548889
Randolph530297
Monroe509199
Christian493980
Fulton489670
Morgan488196
Logan478674
Montgomery469276
Lee459558
Bureau428388
Perry415871
Saline411764
Fayette401358
Iroquois395873
McDonough356256
Jersey323153
Shelby315643
Douglas307336
Crawford306030
Lawrence301931
Union297147
Wayne274657
White266830
Richland263255
Hancock258434
Pike256856
Clark251938
Cass251528
Bond244424
Clay240747
Edgar236345
Ford235656
Warren226061
Carroll225837
Johnson214424
Moultrie212431
Jo Daviess206926
Washington206227
Wabash201616
Greene200939
Mason200151
Massac199544
De Witt196330
Piatt191414
Mercer191234
Cumberland179325
Menard159812
Jasper153118
Marshall134921
Hamilton129521
Brown10198
Pulaski98711
Schuyler9728
Edwards96615
Stark77027
Gallatin7496
Scott6975
Alexander67811
Henderson65614
Calhoun6452
Hardin56114
Putnam5454
Pope4845
Unassigned1892432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 944708

Reported Deaths: 15343
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1287051987
Lake634321097
Allen53759760
Hamilton43980448
St. Joseph42010590
Elkhart33651491
Vanderburgh30486449
Tippecanoe26872250
Johnson23685417
Hendricks22354341
Porter21799347
Clark17493231
Madison17439384
Vigo16209284
Monroe14515191
LaPorte14350239
Delaware14134222
Howard13921273
Kosciusko11448135
Hancock10886166
Warrick10715177
Bartholomew10589169
Floyd10471206
Wayne10020226
Grant9165204
Morgan8895160
Boone8417111
Dubois7748123
Dearborn764990
Henry7648130
Noble7435101
Marshall7384128
Cass7209117
Lawrence6999153
Shelby6616111
Jackson659186
Gibson6177107
Harrison606286
Huntington603195
Montgomery5830105
DeKalb578391
Knox5506104
Miami545788
Putnam540568
Clinton535965
Whitley526553
Steuben499768
Wabash486292
Jasper481860
Jefferson472892
Ripley456077
Adams445568
Daviess4209108
Scott407965
White392957
Clay392857
Greene390592
Wells388784
Decatur385996
Fayette377278
Posey361541
Jennings354356
Washington333747
LaGrange323575
Spencer319536
Fountain317955
Randolph314889
Sullivan308449
Owen284863
Starke281464
Fulton280054
Orange276859
Jay256338
Perry252552
Carroll244929
Franklin240538
Rush235630
Vermillion234450
Parke221020
Tipton210555
Pike209539
Blackford169634
Pulaski165551
Crawford146718
Newton145245
Benton143516
Brown135546
Martin129317
Switzerland126210
Warren115516
Union97711
Ohio80111
Unassigned0479