ICYMI: White House concerned by NC’s lack of COVID-19 testing (WBTV)

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Raleigh, N.C. — Last night, Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV dropped major news that contradicts how Gov. Cooper characterized a call with Dr. Deborah Birx last week. The Cooper Administration’s spin on the issue highlights additional problems.

Read the story here. Excerpts are below.

Officials with the White House Coronavirus Task Force are concerned with North Carolina’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the state’s inability to quickly marshal testing resources, two people familiar with the matter say.

Those concerns were the subject of a call between Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen late last week.

The call was first disclosed by Governor Roy Cooper at a briefing with reporters on Monday.

“In fact, Dr. (Deborah) Birx of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce contacted Dr. Cohen with her concerns,” Cooper said at the briefing, after highlighting the upward trend of cases in North Carolina.

But a White House Coronavirus Task Force official and, separately, a US Congressman from North Carolina who has spoken to Birx about her call with Cohen both characterized the nature of the call differently.

Specifically, the task force official, who asked to not be named in order to discuss details of the private conversation between Birx and Cohen, said Birx and other task force members are concerned at North Carolina’s inability to quickly respond to new outbreaks of the virus as they have emerged across the state.

“What we’ve seen are some states that have reopened and are efficiently using testing resources,” the task force official said. “When they have an increase in cases, they quickly move testing resources to determine what is the cause of those, whether it’s a prison outbreak or a nursing home outbreak or a meatpacking facility. They quickly figure out what is the problem and then seek and act to contain that problem.”

The official stressed that the concerning trend in North Carolina’s numbers predate the state’s reopening.

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