Dr. Birx: “WV represents exactly what we want to see across the country.”

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx praised state and local health officials for keeping state numbers low.

Wednesday morning, local health officials met with Dr. Deborah Birx to discuss the state’s coronavirus response.

“It has been a really perfect closure to a seven state trip,” said Dr. Birx. “We spent a lot of time in what we call ‘yellow states.’ We’ve been in all the ‘red states,’ working through this current phase of the epidemic. West virginia represents exactly what we want to see across the country.”

West Virginia is the first “green state” Dr. Birx has visited. She wants to know how officials have kept case numbers so low.

“We really wanted to hear how West Virginia got it right and continues to get it right. What I’ve been convinced is that it’s a really partnership and teamwork coming together to create self-sufficiency through innovation. It’s [how the state has been] translating to every West Virginian and putting them first and communicating how important every West Virginian is to each other.”

Birx praised the governor’s overall response, including his plan to get kids back into to schools and the effort to test residents, especially those living and working in nursing homes.

“From very early on, the urge to protect nursing homes and really ensuring that testing staff and residents–that we recommended to all states weeks ago–to see it implemented here and to see [Governor Justice] saying we are not stopping until every resident and every staff remains negative is very encouraging.”

Also at today’s closed roundtable meeting was Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who thanked Birx for meeting with local officials.

“West Virginia wants to be a model,” said Capito. “We care about one another. I think that comes through all the time. We care about our families and our communities, so let’s keep up the good work.”

West Virginia was Dr. Birx’s last stop. She’s headed back to Washington D.C. with her report.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.