Deaconess, IU School of Medicine partnering for COVID-19 study

Coronavirus Watch

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Deaconess Hospital and the IU School of Medicine are teaming up in an attempt to find answers related to the many questions about COVID-19.

“We know it’s present, we know its spreading person to person. What we don’t know is how many people actually have it? That’s what this study is attempting to determine for a particular point in time- what is the prevalence of this virus and this infection in our community,” Dr. James Porter, President of Deaconess Health System, said.

The study will test up to 1,000 people over the course of five days. The test is an attempt to see how the virus spreads in the workplace and what variables most impact its spread. The study will survey employees from both essential and non-essential businesses to see how the spread varies between workplaces.

“[We’re] doing a clustered sampling approach. That allows us to get more information at the company level, as well as to get that aggregate information and get a good cross section of our entire population in the area,” Dr. Kara Garcia with the IU School of Medicine-Evansville said.

Each participant will be given an antibody blood test and a COVID-19 diagnostic nasal test.

“We have to look at the ability of a person to produce an antibody response, so for that, we’re going to collect a blood specimen and that particular test really isn’t detecting the virus itself, but detecting the ability of the body to produce a response to that pathogen,” Dr. April Abbott, Director of Microbiology at Deaconess Regional Lab, said.

Gov. Holcomb announces study to better understand COVID-19 impact on certain populations

They will also be asked if they’ve had any symptoms, possible exposures, and the degree of their social distancing practices. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is optimistic that these results will have a major impact on reopening the city.

“This data will help guide policy makers both statewide and regionally with how best businesses can reopen [and] how best society can return to a sense of normalcy,” Mayor Winnecke said.

Results are expected to return from the Mayo Clinic by mid-May and released to the public shortly after.

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