COVID updates: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tests positive

He said he has mild symptoms and will be quarantining for five days.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 825,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 62% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tests positive

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has tested positive for COVID-19, he confirmed in a statement Sunday evening.

"I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave," he said.

He added that his symptoms are mild and he is following his physician's directions.

"In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days," Austin said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recently-updated isolation guidelines.

Austin said he will be attending virtual meetings if possible while in quarantine.

"I have informed my leadership team of my positive test result, as well as the President. My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all those with whom I have come into contact over the last week," he said in his statement, adding that his last meeting with President Joe Biden was on Dec. 21, "more than a week before I began to experience symptoms."

"I tested negative that very morning. I have not been in the Pentagon since Thursday, where I met briefly - and only - with a few members of my staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout," he said.

Austin said he is fully vaccinated and boosted, and his doctor made clear to him that thanks to that, his infection is much more mild than it would otherwise have been -- which he is grateful for.

NY hospitalization rate at its highest in a year

More than 8,773 people are hospitalized in New York state with COVID-19 -- the highest number since January 2021, according to state health officials.

Roughly 1,518 people were admitted to hospitals in the last 24 hours, and there are 1,133 patients in ICU beds, the health department said.

Turnaround time for testing 2-3 days: Quest Diagnostics

One of the largest testing companies in the country said the jump in COVID-19 tests has led to an increase in time for results.

Quest Diagnostics told ABC News their turnaround time for results has now stretched to two to three days on average.

Last week, the company said it took a day, on average, to get results.

On Wednesday, Quest told ABC News they were deploying their logistics network, such as its national courier and air fleet, to move specimens around to where there is less inundation and help balance out volume across their roughly two dozen labs.

However, the increase in omicron cases and the busy holiday season led to delays.

Other labs are also experiencing long wait times for results, including CityMD, which said it can take patients up to seven days to get their results.

-ABC News' Sasha Pezenik

New York state sets new daily case record

New York state has once again broken its single-day COVID-19 case record.

There were 85,476 new cases reported Saturday, according to the governor's office.

The number of COVID-19 tests administered also increased by over 44,000 in the last 24 hours.

The state's seven-day positivity rate is nearly 20%.

On Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced new measures to target the state's winter COVID-19 surge, including opening more state-run testing sites, distributing rapid tests to schools and increasing vaccination and booster rates among children and nursing home residents.

75% of people in UK with cold symptoms actually have COVID, study says

About 75% of people in the U.K. experiencing new cold-like symptoms actually have symptomatic COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Health science company ZOE, which has been conducting the ongoing study with King's College London, said the figure is based on a decline in the number of non-COVID "colds" and a sustained increase in symptomatic COVID cases.

Dr Claire Steves, scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app and Reader at King’s College London, said she wants the U.K. government's list of symptoms to be updated to include headache, runny nose and sore throat.

"The fact that 75% of new cold-like symptoms are COVID, and the classic symptoms are much less common, means the government advice needs to be urgently updated," she said in a release Thursday.

On Wednesday, the U.K. recorded a record-high 183,037 cases of COVID-19, more than double the figure reported at this time last year.