Community Based Epidemiologic Surveillance Study of the COVID-19 Pandemic – A partnership between Heart to Heart International and the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) with support from the CDC Foundation and community-based organizations.

Working in collaboration with the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) and with support from the CDC Foundation and community-based organizations, Heart to Heart International is providing free COVID-19 tests to individuals in marginalized communities who may be moving around the community without knowing if they are infected.

Volunteer nurses with Heart to Heart International collect specimens for COVID-19 testing from community members on June 12, 2020 (Source: Heart to Heart International). 

According to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in the United Kingdom, estimates of the number of asymptomatic individuals range from 5-80%. The lack of precision in this range creates significant concerns about how to control the spread of the outbreak. There is an urgent need to obtain data to better estimate the true number of people infected with COVID-19.

Marginalized communities disproportionately suffer physically and economically from diseases. Early statistics emerging from the COVID-19 outbreak indicate people of color and from communities with lower mean income statistics are dying more often and more likely to be infected with the disease. Without the knowledge of accurate numbers of individuals who are infected, targeted infection prevention interventions and appropriate healthcare resource allocation will lead to higher morbidity and mortality in marginalized communities.

This study tests community members in marginalized communities and asks them to answer survey questions to help researchers understand more about how people are contracting the virus, and how and where they are moving through the community. This information will provide employers, community leaders, and policymakers with better evidence as they make decisions moving forward in this pandemic.

Heart to Heart International began deploying mobile testing sites on May 13, 2020, at community businesses and partner locations to provide this testing for individuals with limited access to or opportunities for testing services. The goal is to test approximately 5,000 previously untested people who live in predominantly marginalized communities with limited resources and access to healthcare services. The study will also help create a registry of willing participants in ongoing surveillance or future vaccine efficacy studies.

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