Top White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Deborah Birx meets with Gov. Tim Walz |

Top White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Deborah Birx meets with Gov. Tim Walz

Jay Kolls
Updated: August 30, 2020 10:27 PM
Created: August 30, 2020 08:39 PM

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she met with Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Sunday afternoon in St. Paul with a message of urgency and praise.

“I have been really impressed with the state’s data-driven approach toward containing COVID-19,” Birx said. “But the other message is this state has gone from two to five, to now nine counties over 10% COVID-positive tests, and that trend is worrisome this late in the summer.”

Birx said she and the governor talked about ways they can mitigate this uptick in COVID-19 in the metro area, and the top idea is to make a greater push toward people wearing masks — not just in public, but in their homes and friends' homes whenever they gather together.

“Families and friends are getting together and they’re assuming no one is infected,” Birx said. “And then they don’t wear their masks in those gatherings where there can easily be more than 10 people, and they interact in those gatherings without their masks and that creates the spreading of the virus among family and friends.”

Birx said she has been visiting quite a few states on this trip, including Iowa, and most states have been asking her to send a message back to President Donald Trump. In return, the White House is asking for some information from the states she’s visiting.

“Minnesota, and most other states, would like the White House to be flexible in CARES Act funding past the end of the year,” Birx said. “And the White House would like Minnesota to help them understand what’s happening in the Twin Cities with this rise in COVID cases — as many as 500 new cases a day in the Twin Cities — so we can further mitigate to bring those cases down and then how do we prevent spread further into other counties.”

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