Media Contacts

Kylene Metzger

Media Relations Specialist, Public Affairs
Email: kylene.metzger@hsc.utah.edu

Jul 17, 2020 2:00 PM

Utah Health & Economic Recovery Outreach (HERO) is a massive undertaking that has tested more than 13,000 Utahns to date across multiple counties in Utah to gather data to more accurately establish the rate of COVID-19 infection in Utah, and rates of infection in various age groups and job categories. In Phase One of Utah HERO, data were gathered from households in Utah, Davis, Salt Lake, and Summit counties. Phase Two has extended to other areas in Utah including Washington County, where participants were contacted by mail, and west Salt Lake City, where there is concern over heightened viral activity.

The data collected in Utah HERO will help indicate where COVID-19 has spread, which groups are most impacted, and how many undetected infections are occurring. This information will help guide state decision-makers, health professionals, and business leaders as Utah navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Participate

Utah HERO team members will knock on doors in neighborhoods to introduce the project and screen household members for eligibility while adhering to current social distancing and hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health agencies.

  • Households are randomly selected to participate in an interview questionnaire and COVID-19 antibody testing.
    • Participants must be specifically selected and contacted by Utah HERO volunteers to be tested.
  • Any member of a household age 12 or older can participate once the household is selected.

Utah HERO relies on scientific sampling in order to understand what is happening in Utah communities.

Testing Process

  • A field team member will determine if a household member is eligible for the project, then conduct an interview and schedule a time for testing within a week at a mobile testing center located in the community.
  • Project participants will be assigned a time for a quick venous blood draw and nasal swab.

Utah HERO Test Results

  • Participants will receive test results within 8-10 business days.
  • All test results are mailed to the participant.
    • If a participant tests positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by phone within 24 hours of received test results.
Email the Utah HERO team at utcovid19project@utah.edu for any questions related to testing.

Phase One Briefing

Phase one of the two-phase project aims to measure the proportion of people who have antibody to the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, in order to understand prevalence within the population (the total number of infections that have occurred over time) and other factors associated with the virus. 

Phase One Findings

  • About 1 in 100 residents in the four participating counties showed evidence of prior infection.
  • For every case that was detected by some other means, there were approximately 2.4 cases that were not detected.
  • Roughly 30% of participants who have COVID-19 antibodies report having a prior positive COVID-19 test.
  • It is estimated the infection fatality rate in Utah to be approximately 0.29%.
  • When one member of a household had antibodies to COVID-19, the proportion of other members of the household that were seropositive was 12.4%.
  • Overall, 0.2% of nasopharyngeal swabs were positive by viral PCR testing.

Phase Two

Phase Two will extend the same work to Utah’s other counties, assess communities that may have high viral activity, focus on students/children to help guide best practices for returning to school, and monitor changes in antibody prevalence over time.

 

 

 

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