Space Force No. 2 Returns to Work After COVID-19 Diagnosis

Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson returned to work at the Pentagon on Nov. 9 following a nearly two-week quarantine period to recover from the coronavirus.

Thompson tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 28 after being in close contact with a family member who also contracted the virus. He was asymptomatic when he was confirmed positive.

The Department of the Air Force did not offer any additional information about Thompson’s bout with the deadly virus. When asked whether Thompson tested negative before coming back to the office, spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the department follows [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines for returning to work after a COVID-19 diagnosis, which do not recommend retesting before resuming regular work.

The CDC says most people with the coronavirus can stop isolating 10 days after they develop symptoms, and after their fever has broken for at least 24 hours without the use of medication to treat it. People who never have symptoms can leave isolation 10 days after first testing positive for the virus.

Thompson, Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. have all worked from home during quarantine periods this fall. While military leaders are often tested for the virus so they can keep up their busy schedules that often require meeting in person, Stefanek said there is no set policy for when or where those officials are tested.

“Testing protocols vary by situation,” she said. “Personnel in the Pentagon are advised to follow CDC guidelines for mask wear and social distancing.”

As of 2 p.m. on Nov. 9, the Air Force and Space Force had logged 17,571 cases of COVID-19 among its Active-duty, Air Force Reserve, and civilian personnel, contractors, and their dependents. Twenty-three of those people have died.