KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- A member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force was in the Kansas City metro today to discuss both Kansas and Missouri’s COVID-19 status.
At the University of Kansas Medical Center, Dr. Deborah Birx touched on a number of topics with regard to COVID-19 in our area.
One of her key focuses was trying to get our area out of the red zone for the virus.
Her major key to doing that is cutting down the spread in our communities by wearing masks and not having mass gatherings.
As we start to see schools planning to reopen, she believes the school districts should continue to work with local health departments to do what is best for their area.
She stated that school districts in counties with high case numbers should mainly focus on cutting down the spread in their communities first before reopening.
Meanwhile, counties with few to no cases should follow this advice: “Those are the schools that should -- as long as the whole school district includes those counties that look that way -- they should be considering opening so that they can really be the test case of how to open safely."
Birx said she believes schools can reopen safely, but it all starts with cutting the main spread in our communities.
That advice also applies to high school fall sports, which Birx believes the decision to play can only work if both players and coaches take the necessary steps to be safe both on and off the field.
The doctor touched on Chiefs football, too.
What she said may bother Chiefs Kingdom, with the season just a few weeks away. Many are excited to watch the Super Bowl champion Chiefs play again in-person.
The Chiefs have been exploring the option of having fans at a smaller capacity, but Birx was short and sweet about that topic.
She said, “If you want to have fans in the stands, get your case rates down.”
It should be very interesting to see how the season goes. That also goes for Sporting KC, as they are starting their season with fans in the stands at the end of the month.
Birx is urging the area not to be cavalier about the coronavirus.
“That virus is moving north,” she said. “It’s moved through equally rural and urban areas in the south, and now Oklahoma and Arkansas.”
Those are two neighboring states to both Missouri and Kansas.
Birx has been making trips across the Midwest, urging areas to do better -- especially red zone areas like KC.
“When you have rising test positivity, you really need to close the bars, restrict indoor dining, decrease social gatherings, and really ensure there is a mask mandate,” she said.
Birx was able to meet with Kansas governor Laura Kelly today at the medical center, to discuss the area’s plans moving forward as schools begin reopening.
“I don’t think, right now, most of the spread that you are seeing is happening in the schools,” she said. “It’s people being infected in the community and bringing it into the schools and infecting other children.”