After a mid-April high that saw a one-week jump of more than 4,600 COVID-19 cases, the number of new cases among troops, dependents, civilians and contractors has been decreasing weekly, according to data released by the Defense Department on Friday.
There have been 685 positive tests since May 1, a rise of just under 10 percent, for a total of 7,826. The previous week saw 932 new cases, after 1,364 the week before that.
Troops make up two-thirds of those positives, as the services work through a plan to test asymptomatic personnel, as well as all incoming recruits, to clear units before travel or rotations through key national security missions.
“From a military perspective, we have to figure out how to use testing in ways to validate the readiness of our forces to deploy,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters April 17. “Testing is going to become a critical part of that.”
While cases in dependents, civilians and contractors have slowed significantly, increased testing is reflected in the rise in service member cases.
All told, 467 troops tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, a rise of 10 percent, bringing the total to 5,171. Of those 144 have been hospitalized, 1,978 have recovered and two have died.
That brings the military’s infection rate to over 0.2 percent, or 2,462-per-million. Nationwide, the rate is nearly 0.4 percent, or 3,728-per-million.
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The Navy continues to have about 40 percent of cases among troops, more than 1,000 of whom tested positive during outbreaks on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and destroyer Kidd.
To date, 2,141 sailors have tested positive for coronavirus, up 190 this week, just under a 10-percent increase.
The Army is reporting 1,087 cases, an increase of 78 or about 8 percent. The Air Force broke 400 cases this week, for 409 so far, an increase of 11 percent with 42 new cases. The Marine Corps added 31 new cases over the week, for a total of 449, a 7 percent increase.
And the National Guard edged its way toward 1,000 cases. As of Friday, 967 guardsmen have contracted coronavirus, with more than 40,000 airmen and soldiers mobilized for pandemic response support,
Across DoD, the mortality rate has been slowly decreasing, as the death toll has held steady at 27 since April 27. Just over 0.3 percent of those diagnosed have died, compared to the nationwide rate of 6 percent.
As of Friday, 1,277 civilians have tested positive, an increase of 14 percent this week, with 92 hospitalizations, 561 recoveries and 14 deaths.
Dependents accounted for 926 cases, up 4 percent this week, with 23 hsopitalizations, 435 recoveries and four deaths.
Contractors, who have been hardest hit in terms of death rate, have totaled 452 cases, up 5 percent this week, with 30 hospitalizations and 182 recoveries.
About Meghann Myers
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.