A Crystal City-based contractor, who worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, passed away on March 21, Pentagon officials said in a media release.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first death of someone working for DoD who had tested positive for COVID-19,” officials tell Military Times.
“The individual normally works in Crystal City, and has not been in the Pentagon building itself since February,” officials told Military Times. The person was over 60, said officials, who were not immediately able to provide an exact age.
The individual had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been under medical treatment at a local hospital, the release said.
“The spaces in DSCA where the individual worked have been cleaned in accordance with CDC guidance when he tested positive and the person’s co-workers have been teleworking,” the release said.
The agency was created to “advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by building the capacity of foreign security forces to respond to shared challenge,” according to its website. “DSCA leads the broader U.S. security cooperation enterprise in its efforts to train, educate, advise, and equip foreign partners.”
It “administers security cooperation programs that support U.S. policy interests and objectives identified by the White House, Department of Defense, and Department of State. These objectives include developing specific partner capabilities, building alliances and partnerships, and facilitating U.S. access.”
As of Sunday afternoon, there were 111 service members, 32 civilians, 37 dependents and 31 contractors with confirmed cases of COVID-19, officials told Military Times.
That’s more than a 65 percent jump in the number of service members and contractors with confirmed cases reported Friday morning, when there were 67 service members battling COVID-19, according to Pentagon data, as well as 15 DoD civilians, 26 dependents and 16 contractors.
That’s about a 31-percent jump for troops — 51 cases were reported yesterday — and more than a 60-percent jump for dependents over Thursday’s totals. The military health system had tested more than 1,500 samples as of Thursday.
“Our condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers and we thank the medical professionals who worked to save his life in the face of this virus,” the release said. “The Department remains committed to protecting our service members, their families, and our civilian co-workers.”
This is a developing story. Stay with MilitaryTimes.com for updates.
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.