Members of the TRACE team visit residences in predetermined, randomly selected, representative neighborhoods and invite members of those households to participate in the study. Those who agree to participate fill out a simple consent form, answer a few confidential health-related questions, provide basic information (name, date of birth, contact information, demographic information) and are given the free home test kit. We need this information so that we can let participants know their results.
Participants are asked to follow simple instructions for taking a nasal swab within the privacy of their home and return the completed kit to our workers. Completed kits are taken back to OSU and submitted to the Willamette Valley Toxicology TRACE-COVID-19 laboratory where swabs are tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19). The test results are reported to the relevant county health department (Benton County Health Department, Deschutes County Health Services, Lincoln County Health and Human Services, or Umatilla County Health Department), as required by the state of Oregon. Participants in the study have access to their confidential test results.
TRACE-COVID-19 field team members are carefully trained, protected and certified. They already have been tested for the virus. They carry identification and certification that they are members of the OSU TRACE-COVID-19 project. The workers keep a safe physical distance from you and your family; they do not enter participants’ homes.
For a number of weeks, OSU’s TRACE-COVID-19 field team are collecting samples from households within a representative set of neighborhoods. Following an initial ramp-up period, TRACE teams are sampling 30 neighborhoods, and 8 to 12 households per neighborhood. Not every household is approached, but rather only a few households in each randomly selected neighborhood.
Using the home test kit is simple and easy. While the workers wait outside, participants in the study are asked to:
- Self-administer a nasal swab (or administer a nasal swab to a dependent minor).
- Deposit the nasal swab in the plastic tube swab side down (in the liquid).
- Break off the swab handle that protrudes beyond the plastic tube.
- Close the plastic tube and place it in the provided plastic bag.
- Disinfect the plastic bag with the wipe provided.
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Place the plastic bag on their doorstep in a sanitized tub provided by the field team.
- Close their door, allowing the field team to retrieve the sample while maintaining a safe physical distance.
The TRACE-COVID-19 field workers leave behind information about the project and how residents can obtain their personal results, along with health guidance from the Benton County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists then test those samples for the presence of the virus.