U.S. Coast Guard Vice-Commander Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday.
“On Monday, Coast Guard Vice-Commander Admiral Charles Ray tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested the same day after experiencing mild symptoms over the weekend,” the Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Coast Guard follows the established guidelines for COVID under the CDC guidelines to include quarantine and contact tracing. According to the CDC guidelines, any Coast Guard personnel who have been in close contact are also quarantined. According to the established COVID guidelines of the Coast Guard, Admiral Ray will be quarantined from home, “the statement said.
Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon in safe areas with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Several defense officials tell CNN that senior Pentagon executives who were near Ray have been tested and are awaiting results.
“We understand that Vice Commander Ray tested positive for COVID-19 and that he was at the Pentagon last week to meet with other senior military leaders. Attendees at the meeting included other chiefs of service. We are conducting additional tracing and meeting take appropriate precautions to protect the armed forces and the mission, “Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said in a statement.
“As a precaution, any potential close contacts from these meetings are quarantined and tested this morning. No Pentagon contacts have shown symptoms and we do not currently have any additional positive tests to report,” he added.
All but one of the joint chiefs of staff are now quarantined themselves. The commandant of the Marine Corps was not in meetings with Ray; his deputy was present.
As a precaution, Milley is working from home, says a defense officer. Milley has tested negative so far. As the best military advisor to President Donald Trump, he maintains a fully classified communications suite in his home, the official said.
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Brown; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday, and Space Chief General John Raymond, also work from home, according to several officials.
Additional officers working from another location or from home include:
- General John Hyten, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff;
- General James McConville, Army Chief of Staff;
- General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard;
- General Paul Nakasone, US Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency;
- General Gary Thomas, assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps,
White House breakout
At least eleven presidential aides or allies have either contracted the virus or – in the case of his daughter Ivanka – are working from home. Entire office suites stand empty while Trump’s aides work to isolate him in the residence and outside the west wing.
At the White House residence, where he spoke without a mask, an already stripped baton was further reduced after the president and first lady both contracted coronavirus. At least one member of staff, who are military personnel directly tasked with assisting the President in the Oval Office and Residence, tested positive over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter.
In the meantime, the prospect of the virus spreading among senior Pentagon leaders is likely to raise additional national security issues, particularly given the military’s role in trying to reassure the American public following Trump’s positive diagnosis last week.
In a statement released Friday morning, the Pentagon attempted to allay fears that Trump’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis posed a potential imminent threat to national security, stressing that the development did not warrant a change in defense alert levels or military stance.
“The readiness or capability of our armed forces does not change. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement,” Hoffman said at the time.
“The US military is ready to defend our country and our interests,” he added.
Hoffman repeated the point on Tuesday, saying, “There is no change in the operational readiness or readiness of the US Forces.”
“Senior military leaders are able to remain fully operational and perform their duties from an alternate place of work. The DoD has been following CDC guidelines since April on temperature testing, social distancing, and wearing masks when social distancing is prohibited and will continue to do so, “he said.
This story breaks and is updated.