President Trump said late Thursday on Twitter that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, would begin the “quarantine process” as they await results of coronavirus tests they took after a senior adviser who is often with the couple tested positive.
It was not immediately clear what Mr. Trump meant by the “quarantine process,” and White House officials declined to immediately provide any guidance. As of 11:30 p.m., the president still had a full day of events planned for Friday, including a private fund-raiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and a campaign rally in Florida. He was also scheduled to hold a call with “vulnerable seniors” about the coronavirus.
And even if Mr. Trump first tests negative for the virus, the incubation period for it can last nearly two weeks, meaning he will not be certain for several days that he does not have it.
The White House typically uses a rapid coronavirus test that produces results within a short period of time. Two hours before that tweet, Mr. Trump told the Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had been tested and was awaiting results, leaving the idea that he might enter into some kind of quarantine as an open question.
Ms. Hicks is the closest known person to the president to have contracted the virus, which causes Covid-19. That an adviser with such proximity to other aides has the virus raised alarms inside the White House, where officials worried that other top officials may have been infected.
Officials at the White House have known about Ms. Hicks’s likely diagnosis since Wednesday evening, when she traveled with the president aboard Air Force One to Minnesota for a campaign rally in Duluth. One person familiar with the events on Wednesday said that Ms. Hicks began exhibiting minor symptoms around the time of Mr. Trump’s rally, and that she was quarantined on the return flight to Washington and then disembarked from the back entrance of the plane.
The positive diagnosis came on Thursday, a person familiar with her case said.
Ms. Hicks also accompanied Mr. Trump to the first presidential debate against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, on Tuesday in Ohio. Attendance at the event was significantly scaled back to prevent the spread of the coronavirus; people familiar with the planning said that Mr. Trump had wanted people in the audience.
Speaking to Mr. Hannity, Mr. Trump appeared to blame soldiers and law enforcement officials who he said wanted to give her hugs and thank her for her work at the White House.
“She’s a very warm person,” the president said. “When soldiers and law enforcement come up to her,” he said, she does not