Addressing the COVID-19 Infection Rate of Household Members

As several states now require masks and face coverings for visiting essential businesses or using public transportation, it seems like those spaces are where we are most at risk for COVID-19 infection. But, in truth, the riskiest place could be our homes.

That’s why Jessica Lin, an infectious disease researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill, is leading a study to address the infection rates of household members living with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

The study solicits participants via UNC Hospital’s drive-through testing center. Lin’s team will make a home visit the day after diagnosis to collect an additional nose swab specimen from the COVID-19-positive person, along with specimens from their consenting household members. They will do this once a week for three weeks and will then collect a blood sample to understand infection rates. Lin hopes to enroll at least 100 participants.

“If you want to understand community transmission, this is the place to start,” Lin said. “It’s also a good setting for understanding more about pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission. It will give us an idea of the ring of people surrounding one person’s diagnosis.”

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