MDH said the goals of the study are to:
• Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.
• Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in specific areas.
• Examine how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates vary between regions in Minnesota.
• Identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 who have no symptoms.
• Improve health messages and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
From Monday to Sept. 30, teams of public health personnel visit randomly selected households in 180 pre-selected locations around the state, MDH said.
They have divided the state into six regions with 30 locations each.
“It really allows us to not only understand who has good access to testing and good access to things like online surveys, but can really give everyone an equal chance of being selected for this survey,”
For those who agree to participate, a member of the household completes the questionnaire. All members of the household who give their consent can receive a COVID-19 test and an antibody test.
“Our minimum level of participation is at least participation in one of the sample types (antibody or diagnostic test),” Yendell said. “This really started as an antibody test study, so it’s probably the overall goal to understand how many people in Minnesota have been exposed to COVD-19. The questionnaire provides us with more information that can help us interpret these results. , so we can understand why some areas may have been more vulnerable than others. “
Only those households contacted by the investigation teams are eligible to participate. The teams wear face masks, vests and badges that identify them as members of the MDH COVID-19 Survey Team.
MDH said those who test positive for current infection or for antibodies will be contacted by a nurse at a later date to receive further information. All questionnaire responses are kept private.
“We encourage people to participate in the survey if their household is selected. Along with being able to receive free, home testing for current and past COVID-19 infection, this is a unique opportunity for people to help us learn more about the effects of COVID-19 and help our efforts to combat this pandemic, ”said Lynfield.
According to MDH, the survey results will be used by the modeling teams to cross-check their work. It can also help identify areas where there is limited access to tests or medical appointments in certain areas of the state.
The CDC developed the CASPER approach as an evidence-based tool for assessing society’s needs. It has been used to gather information in emergencies such as hurricanes, oil spills and the Zika virus outbreak, according to MDH. Several other states are also conducting the study.
“This is really an important piece of the puzzle,” Yendell said. “We’re just trying to scrape the layers away with this virus to understand more and more. It’s really important that we have this information now so we can also look at similar information in the future and be able to compare where we are. is now versus where we were then. “
Households participating in the CASPER survey receive $ 20, which, according to MDH, is standard practice for surveys and focus groups.
The study is funded through COVID Relief Funds, which MDH received.
You can find more information here.