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Dr. Deborah Birx visits Tulsa

Dr. Birx Visit 4.jpeg
Posted at 4:11 PM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 21:43:17-04

A round table discussion took place at OSU Center for Health Sciences with Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The topic of discussion was how the state is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who attended the round table discussion were: Meeting attendees included: Dr. Deborah Birx, Governor Kevin Stitt, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye, MD, Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett, Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard, Secretary of Agency Accountability and State COO John Budd, Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU Center for Health Sciences President, Dr. Mousumi Som, OSU Center for Health Sciences Chief of Staff, G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa, Joy Hofmeister, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Mike Woods, Hennessey Public Schools Superintendent, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, Rep. Marcus McIntyre, R-Duncan, Bond Payne, Chief of Staff to Gov. Stitt, and Brian Bingman, Chief Policy Advisor to Gov. Stitt.

Mayor G.T. Bynum tells us, “‘if you had to guesstimate how many people were in there,’…maybe 15?”

The meeting at the OSU Center for Health Sciences is just one stop on a tour of multiple states.

“Its helpful to have one of the four most helpful experts in the nation there telling us what she sees happening nationally because to be honest my focus is so much on Tulsa and what we see happening here”, Bynum says.

No comments to the media were made by Dr. Birx.

Governor Stitt and Mayor Bynum spoke to us after the meeting saying it was very informative.

“There wasn’t really any recommendations she had in this meeting, we’ve already taken all the white house recommendations. It's no time to make our foot off the gas, we’ve got to continue to be vigilant and continue to social distance” Stitt says.

Mayor Bynum tells us Dr. Birx did not specially recommend Oklahoma or Tulsa to do anything differently, but did strongly affirm the importance of masks and social distancing as the state heads into the new school year.

“There are a lot of levers we can pull, but at this point we are in really good shape," continued Gov. Stitt. "We have to be very cautious as kids are going back to school. That’s why Oklahomans need to continue to social distance, and wear masks when they cannot maintain their distance so we can keep up this positive trend that we’re on right now.”

In the discussion it was also discussed what other states were doing to handle the recent spikes as well as getting feedback on good measures Oklahoma is taking on it's own.

Bynum tells us, “she said one thing people need to remember on this is, we are just 7 months, 6 to 7 months into researching into a vaccine on this.”

“She was very complimentary of our testing plan and what we’re doing with our universities,” said Gov. Stitt. “I had Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard discussing our strategy, and Dr. Birx said she’s going to take that back with her and share some of it with the other states she is visiting.”

Both Governor Stitt and Mayor Bynum agree that Oklahoman's need to continue to social distance and wear a mask when they can't do so.

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