The Defense Department’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has slowed to its lowest pace since the beginning of the month, as diagnoses in non-service members began to diminish.

The latest data shows that 106 people tested positive on Tuesday, following 80 on Monday, down from a mid-April high that saw more than 300 new cases on some days.

More specifically, new cases this week have been concentrated with troops, as the Pentagon rolls out a plan to test asymptomatic service members in key units, while new diagnoses in the three other categories DoD tracks have slowed to a trickle.

Fourteen civilians have been diagnosed in the past two days, down from 128 new cases reported in the same period last week. Overall, 91 have been hospitalized and 375 have recovered.

During the same period, 21 dependents have been diagnosed versus 69 from Monday to Wednesday last week, for a total of 871. The number of hospitalized dependents, 33, has held steady since April 23, with 298 recoveries so far.

And just five contractors have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the total to 428, versus 62 in the same period last week. Of those 61 have been hospitalized and 143 have recovered.

Though there have been fewer cases in those three groups than in the military, they have represented the overwhelming majority of DoD’s COVID-19 deaths ― 25 total, or 93 percent. The department’s overall mortality rate stands at 0.4 percent, compared with more than 5 percent nationwide.

The vast majority of DoD’s positive coronavirus tests have come from troops this week, 159 so far, as the Pentagon moves on a plan to universally test certain units for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, then ramp up to 100 percent testing throughout the force, and repeated testing before certain training, deployments and other travel.

Currently, certain counter-terrorism units, nuclear deterrent forces and all new basic trainees are getting tested, in addition to those who are symptomatic and medical staff working with COVID-19 patients around the country.

As of Wednesday, 4,359 service members had tested positive, up 94 cases ― or 2 percent ― from Tuesday. That brings the infection rate to 2,705-per-million, or nearing 0.3 percent, compared with the overall U.S. rate of 3,000-per-million, or 0.3 percent.

With two documented outbreaks aboard deployed ships, the Navy continues to have the majority of confirmed cases: 1,723 as of Wednesday 73 percent more than the Army’s 998 cases. The Air Force reports 354 and the Marine Corps 359, while 809 National Guardsmen have tested positive.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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