DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study expands

Published on December 17, 2020

As COVID-19 cases surge again and vaccine distribution has begun, researchers are urging greater participation in the DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study – designed to reveal how widely COVID-19 has spread and why some communities are harder hit.

The study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources has expanded the process to allow anyone who lives in Tarrant or Dallas counties to register online to participate. Individuals who sign up can answer surveys online or via phone and may be further selected for additional tests to determine whether they have or ever had COVID-19.

Volunteer online or call 833-947-2577.

“Our study seeks critical answers we still don’t have – how many in the community have been infected with COVID-19 and why some communities are being harder hit. The large dataset from 30,000 community volunteers will allow us to improve the strategies for countering its spread as we continue to restore business and school operations,” said Dr. Amit Singal, Texas Southwestern professor of internal medicine and population and data sciences who is principal investigator for the study.

Earlier this year, the Fort Worth City Council allocated $1 million in CARES Act funds to assist with the prevalence study.

Participation in the survey has several advantages:

  • The test is 99% accurate, vs. 80-85% accuracy for other tests.
  • There are two free tests, for current and past infection.
  • Participants receive PCR results one to two days after testing. This test is for current infection.
  • There are 13 convenient testing locations in Dallas-Fort Worth.

So far, there are slightly more than 2,700 Tarrant County residents who have responded to the survey. The goal is to reach 15,000 participants by early February.

“We’ve made important strides in modeling and predicting COVID surges, which are mostly based on acute infections. We still need to understand how many people may have had mild or no symptoms and were never tested, but still had the infection. We also need to understand why the disease spreads more in some communities than others,” said Dr. Andrew Masica, chief medical officer of Reliable Health for Texas Health and study co-principal investigator. “Participation in this study is one way that individuals can help influence the DFW-area response to COVID.”

Volunteers are needed from all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but particularly from African American and Hispanic communities, which are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

There are five convenient collection sites in Fort Worth:

  • RCCG Fountain of New Covenant, 6934 South Freeway.
  • Rising Star Baptist Church, 4216 Ave. M.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center at Moncrief Medical Center, 600 S. Main St., first floor.
  • Southpoint, 4625 Boat Club Road, Suite 217.
  • Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth, 1325 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 550.

Review frequently asked questions about the study.