Knock-Knock Houston, I Need Your Blood
The Houston Health Department announced it is launching an antibody testing program to better understand how many people have previously been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Starting September 8, 2020, teams from the health department and fire department paramedics will visit 420 randomly selected homes across Houston, and ask the residents to answer survey questions.
And, if your household is selected, someone wearing a "Better Together" t-shirt, will ask you to give a blood sample, reported Houston Public Media.
"This is not a test for an acute infection, this is a test to see if sometime in the past you were infected," Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said at a press conference on September 2, 2020.
Dr. Persse emphasized that their survey doesn't include any questions about your social security number or bank account information.
"We will ask if you’ve had signs and symptoms of COVID; if you’ve been exposed to anyone that you know that’s had COVID, things along those lines," he said.
"We're looking for not only how many people out there have the presence of an antibody, which means their body's generated mechanisms to fight the virus, but also what that level of the antibody is," said Dr. Loren Hopkins with the Houston Health Department.
Dr. Loren said ‘over time, the levels of those antibodies may decrease, so the department will be following up with people in January 2021, to test them again and see if the antibodies still exist in their bodies.’
The city of Houston has about 6.3 million residents located with Harris County, Texas. As of September 4, 2020, Harris County has confirmed 2,281 coronavirus related fatalities during 2020.
This data indicates a population-based COVID-19 disease fatality rate of far less than 1%.
As a disease comparison, the state of Texas, with a population exceeding 29 million, reported 3,516 fatalities related to influenza and pneumonia during 2018.
"If we knock on your door, I strongly encourage you and your loved ones to participate in this important survey," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "The data you provide by participating will help inform strategies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.”
“The Houston Health Department’s ‘Better. Together.’ public health education campaign reminds Houstonians we must work together to overcome the virus and this antibody study is an opportunity to help,” Mayor Turner, according to a media statement on September 2, 2020.
This survey is being carried out in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rice University, and Baylor College of Medicine. For more information about the antibody survey, visit the city of Houston's website.
No health privacy protections were disclosed in these media articles or on the website.
CoronavirusToday publishes research-based COVID-19 pandemic news.
- COVID-19 Antibody Testing Survey
- Houston Health Department Leading Antibody Testing Survey To Better Understand The Spread Of COVID-19 In Houston
- Houston Health Department Launches COVID-19 Antibody Testing Survey
- New Houston survey includes going to homes and testing people for COVID-19 antibodies
- CDC: Influenza/Pneumonia Mortality by State