Just how many troops are in quarantine right now? More than 30,000.

Elizabeth Howe
August 13, 2020 - 11:53 am
COVID-19 Test

DoD

For one reason or another -- predeployment quarantine, COVID-19 positive quarantine or basic training quarantine -- more than 30,000 service members are currently non-operational. 

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, said Wednesday during a Hudson Institute event that more than 30,000 service members are currently in a quarantine environment. Since the early stages of the pandemic, the Department of Defense has implemented two-week quarantine periods both before and after many types of operations to include basic trainings, deployments and permanent changes of station. 

Hyten did not specify how many of those 30,000 were quarantined for operational reasons -- such as trainings and deployments -- and how many were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 tests. In total, as of Wednesday, the DoD had reported 32,299 cumulative COVID-19 cases among its active-duty population and 46,332 total across the entire force. 

Hyten did, however, acknowledge the vastness of that quarantined population. 

“That’s like an entire Army Corps in quarantine for two weeks. That’s huge,” Hyten said.

He also acknowledged the additional strain that these quarantine periods can have not only on the troops themselves, but on their families.

"If you're deploying, you're going to be gone for six months, nine months, 12 months," Hyten said. "Well, then you add two weeks on the front of that and maybe two weeks on the back of that."

Among dependents, DoD has reported 4,289 COVID-19 cases and seven COVID-related deaths. 

Quarantine measures have allowed DoD to resume many operations that were temporarily paused at the beginning of the pandemic -- but some have questioned the effectiveness of those measures. A cohort of 640 recruits that arrived at Fort Benning in Georgia and completed quarantine measures before beginning training had a 22 percent COVID-positive infection rate in a week. 

8 days after quarantine and testing negative, 142 Fort Benning soldiers test positive for COVID-19

Outbreaks at Fort Benning and Fort Bragg were largely responsible for pushing the Army past the Navy with the highest COVID-19 cases at the beginning of July. Now, the Army has 11,140 positive COVID-19 cases, the Navy has 7,568 cases, and the Air Force has 5,073.

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