Harris County Public Health to conduct survey, go door-to-door to collect blood

HOUSTON – Harris County Public Health will conduct a survey to continue studies on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representatives with HCPH will go door-to-door to randomly selected homes throughout the county, collecting blood samples to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.

“In an effort to better understand how many people in Harris County may have already been infected with COVID-19, officials with Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will be conducting a survey of randomly selected homes,” Harris County Public Health stated in a release. “The survey will identify people infected in the past with COVID-19 by the presence of antibodies, proteins the body’s immune system makes to fight infections. County residents agreeing to participate in the survey will be tested for the presence of these antibodies.”

HCPH officials will begin visiting randomly selected homes starting from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 from the hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. HCPH staff will be wearing yellow Harris County Public Health vests and present proper identification. They will also be wearing PPE.

“Participants will be asked to provide answers to survey questions and provide blood samples that will be tested for the presence of antibodies. Once completed, the survey will assist policymakers and health experts understand how vulnerable the community remains to the virus, and how frequently asymptomatic or mild cases occur,” Harris County Public Health stated.

According to HCPH, officials' goals of the survey are to:

- Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in certain areas.

- Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Harris County.

- Understand how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among communities.

- Determine the effectiveness of containment strategies that have been utilized during the pandemic.

- Identify the percentage of Harris County residents infected with COVID-19 with no symptoms, and

- Improve public health messaging to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“This survey is a very important way that local residents can help public health workers fight this virus,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, HCPH executive director and local health authority for Harris County. “By finding out how widespread the illness is, we can develop strategies that will help us control the spread of COVID-19.”

Partners for this initiative include Katherine B. Ensor, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Health Department, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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