National Guard chief gets COVID-19 after overseas trip

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Army Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, talks with a public health official during a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination site where Florida National Guard members are providing support at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, on Feb. 3, 2021. Hokanson has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from an overseas trip to visit guard troops in Europe for Thanksgiving. (Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill/U.S. Army National Guard via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chief of the National Guard has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from an overseas trip to visit guard troops in Europe for Thanksgiving.

Gen. Dan Hokanson has been working remotely and isolating himself from contact with others all week, Guard spokesman Wayne Hall said Friday.

Other U.S. officials said Hokanson is fully vaccinated and tested negative while he was abroad, but tested positive when he returned to the U.S. He left for Kosovo on Nov. 21, after making a brief refueling stop in Ireland, then traveled to Poland and Spain. He returned to Washington last Friday. Officials said he started having symptoms of a bad cold after he got the positive test result and that he was sick for about two days.

About 15 staffers traveled with him, and none have so far tested positive, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personal health issues.

Officials said Hokanson has been working from home, and led meetings with adjutants general around the country on Thursday.

Poland has a vaccination rate of just 54%, and reported more than 29,000 new infections earlier this week, the highest infection rate since a virus wave in the spring made central Europe a global hot spot for COVID.

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