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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin answers questions July 20, 2022, during a news conference at the Pentagon. Austin on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, announced he tested positive for coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin answers questions July 20, 2022, during a news conference at the Pentagon. Austin on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, announced he tested positive for coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. (Chad McNeeley/DOD)

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday tested positive for coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms, he said in a statement.

Austin will continue his normal work schedule from home while quarantining for the next five days, he said.

“I will retain all authorities and plan to maintain my normal work schedule virtually from home,” Austin said. “My last in-person contact with President [Joe Biden] was on July 29.”

Biden recently had the virus, testing positive on July 21 and again with a rebound case on July 30, according to the White House.

Austin last tested positive in January for the virus. He is fully vaccinated against the illness, according to the Pentagon.

“Now, as in January, my doctor told me that my fully vaccinated status, including two booster shots, is why my symptoms are less severe than would otherwise be the case,” he said.

Austin, who mandated the vaccine for all service members in August, said vaccinations “continue to both slow the spread of (coronavirus) and to make its health effects less severe.”

“Vaccination remains a medical requirement for our workforce, and I continue to encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated and boosted,” he said.

Austin’s illness comes after Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough tested positive for the coronavirus Friday.

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Caitlin Doornbos covers the Pentagon for Stars and Stripes after covering the Navy’s 7th Fleet as Stripes’ Indo-Pacific correspondent at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Previously, she worked as a crime reporter in Lawrence, Kan., and Orlando, Fla., where she was part of the Orlando Sentinel team that placed as finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas and master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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