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Metro Health's door-to-door COVID-19 testing program ends quickly

COVID-19 testing (SBG photo)
COVID-19 testing (SBG photo)
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SAN ANTONIO - The city's innovative door-to-door COVID-19 testing program ended in less than a week. That turned out to be a pleasant surprise to one of the study's overseers.

"I wasn’t expecting the field work to be wrapped up in one week’s time," admits Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health. "It’s a tremendous success. It went even better than I anticipated."

Kurian is overseeing the program with Dr. Barbara Taylor of UT Health San Antonio. Field work, which was completed Saturday after just six days, was aided by the San Antonio Fire Department.

About 50 asymptomatic people were tested at random in each of the city's 10 council districts last week for a total pool of 502 volunteers.

"The primary objective of the study was to assess the prevalence of asymptomatic infections in our community," Kurian says. "These study findings can have huge implications with regards to future public health measures to put in place here to control this pandemic."

Kurian now has to input all of the data, analyze it and produce a report explaining what the survey revealed. That should come by August.

"I don’t think it’s going to be too late for the study results to be useful or meaningful," she says.

Kurian gets to start data crunching earlier than expected thanks to people like Jacquelynn Hinojosa. She was one of the asymptomatic volunteers last week who got tested by a field crew.

"Since I’m out and about, medical career, working through all of this, I went ahead and I took one for the team," she says, calling the procedure relatively painless, She did admit: "You feel like you gotta sneeze for a good 10 to 15 minutes afterwards."

Kurian says most of the people her team approached reacted the same way Hinojosa did.

"Initially there was some skepticism, some hesitation. Folks were not aware. Folks are naturally skeptical. By the third day, I did not hear of anybody that declined," she says. "Rates of denying participation in the study was pretty low, less than 1 percent."

Hinojosa was happy she was asked to participate.

"Absolutely what they were doing was perfect and it’s definitely going to bring some good results," she says, noting she was mildly disappointed that she had yet to receive the results of her test since they were promised within a 24-48 hour window.

Total cost for the week-long field survey - believed to be the first of its kind in the state - has not been determined.

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