Dr. Deborah Birx White House COVID response coordinator visits Arkansas

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — From Capitol Hill to the Capitol City. Doctor Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force made her way to the natural state today.

She led a round table with state leaders and health officials about the state’s response to the coronavirus. The discussion covered a lot of topics.

Dr. Deborah Birx has been making her way across the United States and Arkansas was her 19th stop. She emphasizes that she wants to hear responses on White House guidelines and how states are combating COVID-19.

Dr. Birx believes that Arkansas is beginning to show improvement.

“We’re beginning to see that improvement because we think that the people of Arkansas are following the important and common-sense path forward to get control of this virus,” said Birx.

Much like Governor Hutchinson has said, Dr. Birx says the White House is not seeing spread from restrictions that have been lifted in states.

“We’re finding that the majority of community spread right now is happening from parties. Everyone believes that there’s no one that has COVID and yet there is someone there who has the virus,” said Birx.

Arkansas is only a week away from starting school and Dr. Birx says she likes how the state has given guidance to districts in order for them to tailor their response plans specifically.

“We also have to have the parents and the adults in the community is making good judgments of how they prevent community spread in their communities so that children don’t go to school already infected because of what has happened in their community,” said Birx.

Dr. Birx says it has been tough for governors across the nation to enforce policies to help stop the spread, a big reason why she is out on the ground.

“It can’t just be a one-way where I send out recommendations and policies and I don’t hear back from the reality on the ground and while people are actually seeing, asking people to change behavior you have to meet them where they are and so I tried to really carry the message of this, and this is what we know works and this is what we know will stop the cases of the virus,” said Birx.

As part of those testing plans, Dr. Birx says Arkansas’ surge plan is a good one and they are working with national labs in order to speed up those turnaround times and she says the Federal Government is looking into how to best utilize other forms of testing such as a saliva test that is hopeful to be rolled out soon.

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