Area residents asked to participate in COVID-19 Prevalence Project

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 4:32 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Many of us are waiting for our ballots to come in the mail.

But for about 2,000 area residents, a specific letter will also be of importance. It’s from the Washoe County Health District. And it’s asking one person in the household to be part of the COVID-19 Prevalence Project.

Heather Kerwin Washoe County Health District Epidemiology Program Director says the recipient may have some questions upon opening the letter.

“So, even if you have already been tested, you know your status, or you haven’t been sick, or I have been sick, I’ve been a case of COVID, I know that,” says Kerwin,. “The whole idea behind the randomized program is that anybody who receives this letter to participate who is over the age of 18 is eligible,” she says.

Kerwin says this is the second such prevalence project the health district is undertaking. The first she says gave them some information, but not enough people participated.

The test will involve taking blood to detect antibodies to COVID, and then a nasal swab to detect the virus itself--all free of charge.

The district suspects the virus is more prevalent than current testing tells us.

If enough people participate investigators will be able to know which age groups, minorities and gender are most impacted by the virus.

Only those who get this letter can qualify. By participating in this program residents help health officials understand COVID and its relationship to our community. Participants can also qualify for a free $50 Visa gift card.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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