White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Meets with State Leaders

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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt looks on as White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx leads a roundtable discussion August 16 at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.

Gov. Kevin Stitt along with state and local leaders met with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx Aug. 16 for a roundtable discussion at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
The conversation centered around Oklahoma’s COVID-19 response, testing strategies regarding college and K-12 school settings, and data trends from other states.
Dr. Birx discussed the need for mitigation actions specifically tailored to conditions in local communities and praised Oklahoma’s push to use saliva testing. 
“She was very complimentary of our testing plan and what we’re doing with our universities,” said 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.”
Oklahoma’s seven-day average of new positive cases has declined 38 percent since its highest level a few weeks ago. Dr. Birx told Gov. Stitt that while trends were moving in the right direction, it is important to remain vigilant and continue to have a plan if things change.
“There are a lot of levers we can pull, but at this point we are in really good shape,” continued 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.”  
Meeting attendees included U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-1); 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.