Washington, Oct 2 (UNB) - As White House counselor Hope Hicks had tested positive for Covid-19, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump are going to begin a ‘quarantine process’.
In a Tweet late on Thursday, Trump confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, tested positive for the virus Thursday, reports AP.
"Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19," the president wrote. "Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!" reports Xinhua.
Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday, the person said.
Earlier, during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump said: “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know. I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.”
Hicks, who serves as counselor to Trump, also traveled with Trump to the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. She is the closest White House official to Trump to test positive for the virus so far.
The disease has infected more than 7.2 million Americans, killing over 200,000 of them.
The White House tests aides and anyone else who comes into contact with the president daily.
Mr Trump mostly spurns mask-wearing and is often pictured not socially distanced with aides or others during official engagements.
According to Bloomberg News, Ms Hicks is experiencing symptoms of the disease, and was quarantined on Air Force One on the trip back from Minnesota, reports BBC.
Ms Hicks is the latest White House aide to contract Covid-19. Vice-President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive in May and recovered.
That same month, a member of the US Navy who was serving as one of Mr Trump's personal valets tested positive for coronavirus.
But the White House said neither the president nor vice-president were affected.
Who is Hope Hicks
Hicks, 31, is one of the president's most trusted and longest-serving aides, having worked as spokesperson for his 2016 campaign. She originally served as White House as communications director, and re-joined the administration this year as an adviser ahead of the election.
Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday evening. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, and one of the president's personal valets. Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive in South Dakota before an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.
Still, Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting Covid-19. “I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he told reporters back in May.
After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides. Anyone who will be in close proximity to the president or vice president is also tested every day, including reporters.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers. CDC's guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.
Typically, according to the CDC, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.