The chief of naval operations will self-quarantine after he came in contact with a family member who has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a US official.
Adm. Michael Gilday was tested for the virus on Friday and although he is negative at this time he will quarantine for several days, the official said.
This situation is why Gilday did not attend the White House meeting with President Donald Trump on Saturday, according to the official.
That meeting’s attendees included all of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff except for Gilday and the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Joseph Lengyel.
“Lengyel tested positive for COVID Saturday afternoon but a subsequent test Saturday was negative. He will undergo a third test Monday morning to confirm his negative status,” a Defense Department spokesman said.
Gilday has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as the Navy has sought to combat the spread of coronavirus as well as deal with the fallout from the pandemic’s outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
The handing of the outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier — which led to the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship’s commanding officer, and the resignation of the then-acting Navy Secretary — had been the subject of an initial Navy investigation.
US officials told CNN that following that initial investigation, Gilday had recommended that Crozier be reinstated.
However, while Navy officials expected Defense Secretary Mark Esper to endorse Gilday’s recommendations, following a meeting with Esper the Navy launched a broader inquiry into the matter.