White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator visits Fargo


A key White House Coronavirus Task Force member was in Fargo on Saturday to discuss the state's response to the Coronavirus pandemic. White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, joined Governor Doug Burgum, State Chief Operating Officer Tammy Miller, COVID-19 Unified Command co-leader Major General Alan Dohrmann and other key state officials in a roundtable at NDSU's Alumni Center.

Burgum praised Birx for her "steadfast role in helping guide our country through this pandemic." He went on to call her a "highly valued partner to North Dakota's fight against the Coronavirus." He cited her background as being valuable to President Trump and North Dakota's response to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to impact many areas of the country, including the midwest.

In a tour around the United States, Birx visited Fargo afternoon in a quest to see what the community looks like, giving an understanding state-by-state. She says she was able to see what citizens in the community were doing when no-one was looking.

"Leaders, whether they're at the national level, federal, state or local level are deeply dedicated to their citizens," Birx said of the leadership in each state she's visited. She also highlighted North Dakota's COVID-19 dashboard. She calls it one of the best dashboards "of all states." She says it not only is updated daily, but it has directionality.

"Every North Dakotan can understand what we understand," she said. Birx says the data is important as the virus continues to move through communities. 

Birx praised the Vunerable Population Protection Plan (VP3) plan. The VP3 plan was created to protect North Dakota's most vulnerable population, including those in long-term care and other congregate living situations.

She also discussed the innovations in testing with regards to North Dakota's colleges and universities. Birx says the only way to find cases in the university system is by doing agressive testing and isolating. She also says discussion was held regarding surge testing in the universities, saying the state will be moving forward on surge testing.

Birx ended by underscoring the need for the use of masks. She says she visited a local diner and "not every one of the waitresses, waiters and those coming in had masks."

"They (masks) will be crucial come fall," she said. "They are very critical right now in this area."