Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could show up at your door to conduct an optional COVID-19 survey, which could include being tested for the virus.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the modified Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER, survey will include a household questionnaire as well as the opportunity to receive free virus and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Through the CASPER survey, we hope to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading in Minnesota and how it is affecting people,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, MDH state epidemiologist.  “With a new virus, we have to learn as we go and adapt our response based on new data. Information we gather in this survey will allow us to refine our recommendations to best meet the needs of our Minnesota communities in the prevention of COVID-19.”

 

The team will visit random households throughout Minnesota, all within 180 pre-selected sights.  The areas selected are census blocks, used by the U.S. Census Bureau, and were selected using a sampling method that takes into account population size.  The teams will be easy to identify as they will be wearing facemasks, vests, and badges identifying them as members of the MDH COVID-19 Survey Team.

Only the households who were selected to take part in this survey are eligible to participate.  So, if the team shows up at your neighbors house you won't be able to pop over and ask for a free COVID-19 or antibody test.

While it is not all mandatory for a household to participate in any or all of the survey, it is highly encouraged so that health officials can be better prepared to fight the pandemic while educating the public.

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If your household was chosen, you could choose to do everything in the survey or participate in a portion of it based on your comfort level.

Ultimately, the goals of the survey are to:

  • Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.
  • Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in certain areas.
  • Explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota.
  • Identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 that have no symptoms.
  • Improve health messaging and help stop COVID-19 spread.

Participants with positive results for either test will be contacted by a nurse to receive additional information. All questionnaire responses and results will be kept private.