The Pentagon is retracing the steps of its top brass after a positive coronavirus case among senior officials forced Defense Department heads into quarantine.
News of Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray testing positive, which came after he attended a Sept. 27 White House event, broke after Ray had met with several other senior leaders at the Pentagon last week.
The Defense Department has since raced to conduct contact tracing, highlighting the stark difference between the Pentagon and White House, where administration officials have been reluctant to reveal key timeline details after President Trump and top aides tested positive.
“Simply because it is such a threat to readiness and can disable a ship, a building, a base, they take this very seriously,” Steve Morrison, a public health expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of the Pentagon’s response.
“It didn’t seem they were looking to be micromanaged by anyone, they sort of kicked in to gear,” he added.
Top Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Tuesday that the Pentagon is “conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission.”
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for specifics regarding its contact tracing and what additional precautions are being taken.
Hoffman said Tuesday that all potential close contacts from the meetings involving Ray “are self-quarantining and have been tested.”
One of those close contacts, Gen. Gary Thomas, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, has since tested positive. He was quarantining when his results were announced by the Defense Department.
“We are aware of General Thomas’ positive test for COVID-19. At this time we have no additional senior leader positive test results to report. We will continue