WASHINGTON: Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump's closest aides, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Hicks, who serves as counsellor to the president and travelled with him to a rally on Wednesday (Oct 1), tested positive on Thursday, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private health information. She is the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far.
President Trump later confirmed he and first lady Melania have tested positive for COVID-19 as well. "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" he tweeted.
The White House did not immediately respond to multiple questions about the last time Trump was tested and whether he and other staffers who spent time with Hicks in recent days will be asked to quarantine.
In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”
“White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling,” Deere said.
Hicks travelled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night's first presidential debate.
Hicks, one of the president's most trusted aides, previously served as White House communications director and rejoined the administration this year ahead of the election. Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News.
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.
After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides. Others who will be in close proximity to the president and vice president, including reporters, are also tested every day.