White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator visits West Virginia

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 1:25 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, visited Charleston on Wednesday to meet with Gov. Jim Justice and participate in a roundtable with community and state health officials.

While taking questions from reporters following the roundtable discussion, Dr. Birx said this was her first trip to what she called a ‘green state'. Birx said she’s been to 21 states in the last six weeks and West Virginia was the first state on the tour with a test positivity rate of 3.6 percent and about ‘seven coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.'

“We really wanted to hear how West Virginia got it right and continues to get it right. And I think what I’ve been convinced is it’s really a partnership and teamwork coming together to create self sufficiency through innovation.”

Dr. Deborah Birx

Dr. Birx said one major takeaway from Wednesday’s roundtable discussion was the state’s new color-coded school alert system that will determine whether individual counties are allowed to reopen school to in-person instruction on the target date of Sept. 8.

Birx called the metric ‘remarkable” and said she will be taking the information back to Washington, D.C. to distribute to governors across the country. Birx called the metric ‘understandable and implementable.'

WV school alert system
WV school alert system(WV DHHR)

Dr. Birx also praised the state’s leaders for prioritizing data from the very beginning of the pandemic. She also touted Gov. Justice’s mandate to test all staff and residents living in nursing home facilities in the state.

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