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Metro Health Launches Asymptomatic COVID-19 Study

Published on Monday, June 1, 2020

Metro Health Launches Asymptomatic COVID-19 Study

For members of the media, please contact:
Laura Mayes, City of San Antonio (210) 207-1337
Michelle Vigil, City of San Antonio (210) 207-8172

For questions from the general public, please contact:
COVID-19 Hotline (210) 207-5779


SAN ANTONIO (June 1, 2020) –  Metro Health has partnered with UT Health San Antonio and the San Antonio Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program (MIH) to conduct a study to assess the community prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections. This innovative public health and academic partnership will allow health experts to understand if there is a high rate of residents without symptoms that are currently positive for COVID-19 infections and also help assess the risk of transmission locally. This study will be led by Dr. Anita Kurian, Metro Health’s Assistant Director and head of Communicable Diseases and Dr. Barbara Taylor, UT Health San Antonio’s Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and Assistant Dean for the MD/MPH Program. The study will begin today.
“This study will give us a better picture of  asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in San Antonio by telling us how many people in our community are infected without knowing it, because they have no symptoms or have not been tested,” said Dr. Anita K. Kurian. “This is crucial data and it will help us measure the impact of our public health efforts now and guide our COVID-19 response moving forward. I am honored to conduct this study and hope to continue to keep our community healthy and informed.” 

The latest research indicates that people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic play a significant role in transmission of COVID-19. Prevalence of asymptomatic infections and transmissions in Bexar County has yet to be determined. With a better understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and how the virus spreads, public health leaders, healthcare providers, and individuals can make informed decisions about how to slow the spread of the virus and minimize its impacts.
“Throughout the pandemic, Long School of Medicine students have volunteered thousands of hours, from contact tracing to making hand sanitizer to educating the community about COVID-19. We are excited by this new research partnership with San Antonio Metro Health. Our students will be integrally involved in this study as members of household testing survey teams. These opportunities help our community while better preparing our students to become advocates for population health.” said Dr. Barbara Taylor.
A stratified cluster sampling methodology will be used to select the study sample. Ten teams of two members, including a representative of UT Health and MIH will approach 502 households (around 50 households per district) and will randomly select households to volunteer one family member to be tested. This is a voluntary study and the household must meet criteria to participate. Local households are not able to sign up for this study since it is based on a random selection.  If selected, a household member must be over 18 years of age, have not ever tested positive for COVID-19, currently have no symptoms and consent to participate. Patient privacy will be a top priority and information will strictly be used for this study only.
Our goal is to keep the public informed so if their household is selected, they are aware that their collaboration is appreciated and needed to keep our community healthy.  



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Author: Melanie Morales (GPA)

Categories: City News, Health, COVID