National Guard chief receives COVID-19 after overseas trip

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

General Dan Hokanson has worked remotely and isolated himself from contact with others all week, Guard spokesman Wayne Hall said on Friday.

Other U.S. officials said Hokanson was fully vaccinated and tested negative overseas, but positive upon his return to the United States. He left for Kosovo on November 21, after making a brief supply 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 testing positive and was sick for about two days.

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

Officials said Hokanson was working from home and conducted meetings with adjutants across 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 wave of the virus in the spring made central Europe a global hot spot for COVID.

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