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52-year-old guardsman is military's 11th COVID-19 death

52-year-old guardsman is military's 11th COVID-19 death
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A 52-year-old Hawaii National Guardsman has died from COVID-19, marking the military’s 11th death from the disease.

The Hawaii National Guard announced the death earlier this week, but the Pentagon first noted it in Friday’s update of the online chart the department maintains of coronavirus cases.

“Sadly, the Hawaii National Guard lost a member of our ‘ohana and our heartfelt condolences and thoughts of Aloha are with the family and friends during this very difficult time,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, adjutant general for the state of Hawaii, said in a news release this week. “This personal loss reminds us that Hawaii needs everyone to comply with safe practices to prevent further spread of this deadly disease.”

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The airman, who was also a part-time reservist assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, died Sunday after testing positive for the virus days earlier, according to the release.

The death is the fourth from the National Guard. Additionally, six reservists have died from the disease.

One active-duty service member has died from the coronavirus: Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a 41-year-old aviation ordnanceman. He died in April after being one of more than 1,000 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who contracted the virus.

The Pentagon has seen a spike in virus cases in recent weeks in line with the national surge of the pandemic. Tuesday saw the military’s biggest one-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,314 new cases, according to CNN.

The virus has also hit the upper echelons of Pentagon leadership again. The department announced Thursday night that newly installed acting policy chief Anthony Tata has tested positive for the virus. He participated in meetings last week with Lithuania’s defense minister, who also tested positive.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force also met with the minister but are not quarantining “based on testing and mitigation measures that were in place during the Lithuanian delegation’s visit and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Thursday night.

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In total, the Pentagon has reported 108,562 cases of COVID-19 connected to the department, according to Friday’s update of the online chart. That’s an increase of nearly 6,000 cases from the previous update Wednesday.

Friday’s figures include 73,030 cases among service members, an increase of 3,640 cases from Wednesday’s update. The military cases include 45,324 service members who have recovered and 813 who have been hospitalized over the course of the pandemic.

There have also been 17,750 cases among civilians, 11,030 cases among dependents and 6,752 cases among contractors. There have been 72 civilian deaths, eight dependent deaths and 28 contractor deaths, according to Friday’s chart.