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Top White House health official says Bismarck’s virus protocols the worst she’s seen

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“The least use of masks that we have seen.”

Those are the words from a top White House health official visiting North Dakota on Monday.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, met privately with local leaders, health officials, tribal leaders and Gov. Doug Burgum.

In the meeting, she discussed testing, community spread and her recommendation that masks be used at all times in public.

“There is a very high level of virus in North Dakota. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rural area or in an urban area, there are high level of virus circulating because it’s circulating in us,” said Birx.

Birx also said there is more to come as the cold weather rolls in and people stay indoors to keep warm.

“As the weather cooled across the north, we see the activities that were happening outdoors and then brought indoors has resulted in pretty significant community spread,” explained Birx.

Birx says in order to get the community spread under control it is a must that people wear masks out in public.

“This level of what we call silent spread, it’s a little bit like this morning when you went outside and you could see your breath if you didn’t have your masks on. If you had your masks on you couldn’t see your breath. And that’s a very tale, tale indication of how many droplets are blocked by your masks,” explained Birx.

“Dr. Birx and I have been in complete agreement since the beginning of this and we’ve been on the record since the beginning as all of you know, that we believe masks work. I think the question of how you get an increase usage of masks goes back to people finding the why,” said Burgum.

Dr. Birx says out of the 38 locations she’s been to across the country, the least amount of masks usage is right here in the Capital City.

Birx also met privately with tribal leaders, who say the virus is being brought into tribal nations from outside communities.

After leaving North Dakota, her next stop is Montana.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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