Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement released Monday.
Del Toro returned from official travel on Friday afternoon, the statement said, and had received negative tests on Jan. 21 and the morning of Jan. 28. He was Pascagoula, Miss., last week, where he toured Ingalls Shipbuilding. Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo and Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smithalso took part in the shipyard tour.
“I am following my physician’s instructions and will quarantine for the next five days at a minimum in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Del Toro said in a statement. “During this time, I will attend key meetings and discussions virtually.” He added that Undersecretary Meredith Berger will represent him during his physical absence.
Del Toro said he is fully vaccinated and received a booster dose in October. He noted that his symptoms would have been much worse if he wasn’t triple vaccinated.
“We must continue to vaccinate our naval forces and look out for our physical health as we finish the fight against COVID. The well-being of our Sailors, Marines, Civilians and their families is of the utmost priority,” the statement said.
Del Toro’s positive test adds to the growing list of high-ranking Pentagon officials who have contracted Covid this month. Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger announced positive tests a couple of weeks ago and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had Covid in early January. They all reported mild symptoms.