White House Coronavirus Task Force member urges Kentucky to “get ahead” of the virus

Dr. Deborah Birx visits with Kentucky leaders Sunday
Source: Gov. Andy Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – White House Coronavirus Task Force member, Dr. Deborah Birx, met with Governor Andy Beshear and other community health leaders in Frankfort on Sunday.

The closed-door meeting comes as Gov. Beshear reported 316 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Sunday.

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Dr. Birx, the Response Coordinator for the task force, said her visit is to make specific recommendations on fighting the spread of the virus in Kentucky, “mandating masks, increasing the call for social distancing, closing bars, restricting indoor dining and really ensuring that the citizens of Kentucky do not socially gather in basements, living rooms and outdoors.”

The recommendations come as Dr. Birx continues a cross-country tour outlining recommendations for states.

“Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia tomorrow are the next set of states where we have significant concerns about the rising test positivity rate and the rising number of cases,” said Dr. Birx, who was in Ohio Saturday making similar observations ad recommendations.

Dr. Birx says it’s an effort to curb a surge in cases like the South is currently seeing.

“What happens first with this new movement of cases is young people are often infected first, particularly in the under 30 age group. They go on to infect their parents who then infect the grandparents,” added Birx.

The good news? Dr. Birx says, “We believe a state that has test positivity somewhere between 5-7% like Kentucky has a real opportunity to get ahead of this.”

“Now, our numbers still are going up. And so, tomorrow you can expect us to take some additional steps,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

While Gov. Beshear didn’t identify those specific steps, he did say it wouldn’t be a surprise. He also shared an example.

“I saw a picture of a couple bars last night in Lexington that had hundreds of people in them and none of them are wearing masks. Now that’s a problem right? And that’s going to require us to take some steps that we don’t want to take,” said Beshear.

Despite a lower case number Sunday, the governor says ultimately it comes down to people doing their civic duty.

“We’ve all must get to the point where if we show up and we see something that doesn’t look right, we go home. That should be a bar, that should be a restaurant, that should be a retail facility,” said Beshear, noting he expects to release specific recommendations Monday, along with an update on public schools.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!