Seven staffers who traveled with deputy Pentagon chief test positive for COVID-19
Seven staffers who traveled with Deputy Secretary of State Kathleen Hicks last week tested positive for COVID-19, the Pentagon announced.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement that staff were tested at the conclusion of the trip “out of an abundance of caution.”
Hicks and members of her immediate personal staff have all tested negative for COVID-19, he added.
“We have notified the proper authorities within the department, including all members of our traveling party, and contact tracing is being conducted,” Kirby said. “We are also contacting hotels, bases and support personnel who may have come in contact with the traveling party.”
News of the positive tests was first reported by Reuters. According to the outlet, the staff was vaccinated and tested before the trip.
The staff members who tested positive are quarantined, in keeping with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kirby said the guidelines were followed over the course of the trip, which includes “the stringent wearing of masks and social distancing where and when possible.”
“We continue to treat the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 with utmost seriousness and care,” Kirby said.
Hicks traveled to five states last week to meet with service members and military leaders at multiple military bases.
The deputy Pentagon chief visited the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, then traveled to Colorado to visit the U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Space Command and the U.S. Space Force Space Training and Readiness Command.
Hicks also visited the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California and the U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska.