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Deaconess, IU School of Medicine-Evansville partnering on COVID-19 study

Updated: May. 1, 2020 at 1:02 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Deaconess and the IU School of Medicine-Evansville are collaborating on the first COVID-19 prevalence study.

This 5-day study will test 1,000 people from various workforces and settings throughout Vanderburgh County.

As the nation continues to battle against COVID-19, health officials are hoping this study will answer a lot of their questions.

“What we don’t know is how many people actually have it," Deaconess Health System President Dr. James Porter said. "And that is what this study is attempting to determine for a particular point in time.”

The study is a random selection of participants, but it’s entirely voluntary. Those who choose to take part in the study will undergo an antibody blood test and a nasal swab.

“So this gives also the ability to look at patients that previously would not have qualified, or previously not have qualified for a test," Deaconess Director of Microbiology Dr. April Abbott said.

Along with these results, researchers will be looking at other factors, such as age, gender, where people live, as well as the type of work that people do.

“This data will help guide policy makers, both statewide and regionally, with how best businesses can re-open,” Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said. “How best society can return to a sense of normalcy.”

The results will also provide a solid baseline for similar testing in the future.

“So it gives us a baseline of where we’re at right now," Dr. Steven Becker, Associate Dean at IU School of Medicine-Evansville said. "In the future, we can go back and repeat the same thing and be able to get an assessment of - is it worse, is it better, or has it stayed the same?”

“This study lays the foundations for potential additional testing down the road," Dr. Kara Garcia, Research Navigator at IU School of Medicine-Evansville said. “So we can look at the dynamics of how this changes, as we change our policies and as we go back to work.”

Researchers are expected to have test results back by mid-May.

Numbers for the study will be made public, but individual participants and their employers will remain confidential.

You can watch the full panel in the video below:

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