An Army senior noncommissioned officer based at Fort Lee, Va., is the third active-duty service member to die after contracting the novel coronavirus, an Army spokesman confirmed to Military Times.

Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Maria Soto, 38, died Saturday at a civilian hospital near post, Fort Lee spokesman Jefferson Wolfe said.

“Soto served honorably in the Army for more than 20 years, beginning as an armorer at the 95th Military Police Battalion from 2001 to 2004 in Mannheim, Germany,” Wolfe said, with a deployment to Iraq in 2004 and another to Afghanistan in 2011.

At the time of her death, Soto was an advanced individual training instructor with the 244th Quartermaster Battalion, teaching future unit supply specialists, where she had been working since September 2017.

Her awards include three Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, six Good Conduct Medals and the Combat Action Badge.

Soto’s death is the 15th overall among service members and the first in 2021. She is also the second active-duty soldier to die, after a Germany-based NCO succumbed to COVID-19 in early December.

As of Wednesday, 111,581 troops have tested positive for COVID-19, a known infection rate of nearly 5 percent, compared to more than 6 percent nationwide. With 15 deaths, the military mortality rate stands at 0.0001 percent, versus nearly 2 percent of known U.S. cases.

Military cases have spiked in recent months, along with the general U.S. population. November marked the deadliest month for service members, with three National Guardsman and an Army Reserve soldier dying of complications.

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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