Navy's Top Admiral Self-Isolates, National Guard Chief Tests Positive for Coronavirus


COVID-19 has now infiltrated the offices of top senior leadership within the Department of Defense.

While the Navy's top admiral is self-isolating after coming in contact with a COVID-positive family member, the chief of the National Guard Bureau himself has tested positive. 

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday has tested negative for the virus since coming in contact with his COVID-positive family member. Nonetheless, the admiral will self-isolate for the duration of the week, according to a Defense official. 

The National Guard Bureau's chief, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, tested positive for the virus on Saturday. However, a second test administered to the general the same day came back negative. Lengyel will take a third test today to confirm Saturday's negative result.

The Department of Defense did not respond to requests for additional comment nor explain the discrepancy between the two tests taken Saturday. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has released guidance that suggests that test results are occasionally erroneous -- a COVID-negative individual can sometimes test positive and vice versa. 

The same day Lengyel tested positive -- then negative -- for the virus, senior military leadership and national security team members met with President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in the White House. Neither Gilday nor Lengyel were present. 

While those in attendance were likely tested soon before the meeting, no one in the room wore a mask or sat at least six feet apart.

As of Monday, the Department of Defense reported just over 8,000 cases of COVID-19 across the force. 

The number of DoD-affiliated fatalities has held steady at 27 for over a week now, and approximately 3,500 COVID-positive individuals have been classified as "recovered."

Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

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