Austin made a statement on Sunday night stating that he would attend key meetings and discussions virtually over the next week, "to the extent possible". He also stated that Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, would represent him in any appropriate matters.
Austin claimed that he last saw President Joe Biden Dec. 21 more than a week prior to his symptoms. He had also tested positive the following morning.
Austin, 68 years old, claimed he had been fully vaccinated in October and that he received a booster. After experiencing symptoms at home, Austin requested a test on Sunday morning. He was told that the test came back positive and that he would remain in quarantine for five more days as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
"The vaccines are effective and will continue to be a requirement for military personnel. Everyone who is eligible for a booster shot should get it. He said that this is still a matter of readiness.
Alejandro Mayorkas (Homeland Security Secretary) was positive for COVID-19 in October.