Dr. Birx commends Chicago's coronavirus precautions, warns of downstate outbreak

Doctor Deborah Birx visited Chicago Tuesday, saying her team gathered intel watching people at restaurants following coronavirus safety precautions.

She said it’s a lesson she'll take back to the White House coronavirus task force.

“We find that there's at least in the Chicago area good compliance with masks. We appreciate the fact that you ask people to wear masks when ordering from the wait staff,” Birx said.  

Birx was at Rush University Medical Center to meet with state health leaders.

She expressed concern about COVID-19 increases downstate but had praise for Chicago's response, with an emphasis on community outreach and testing.

“It's not just about a test it's about counseling that individual about the risks that resulted in them believing they needed a test how they can protect their family and their household,” Birx said.  

Birx's meeting at Rush marks the 25th state she's visited,

"It's a story of two states right now we see a constant community low-grade infection rate in Chicago and the metropolitan area that we believe is being addressed,” Birx said. “t's really an alert to every rural community that you need to stake same precautions that urban communities are taking because the rate of infections in rural areas is increasing but can be controlled.”

Her main message to Illinoisans: Mask up and space out, this Labor Day weekend.

“We're seeing that the majority of community spread is happening at the neighborhood and community gathering level,” Birx said.

Birx stressed that social distancing is key, even among family and friends.