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Sedgwick County wants to randomly test residents for COVID-19

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Health Department is asking residents of Sedgwick County to answer the call next week to help determine the spread of coronavirus in the county.

During the week of June 8, the department is partnering with a call center to call 1,600 randomly selected residents and ask them to be tested regardless of symptoms. The call center will reach out to people across every demographic such as race, age, and income.

“And that’s what we want so we can get a good representation or sampling of our community,” said Adrienne Byrne, Sedgwick County Health Department Director.

The testing will identify residents with active coronavirus infection on the day the nasopharyngeal (NP) swab was collected. The tests will not determine whether a person was previously infected with the virus and has recovered.

Residents who choose to participate will be asked to provide basic information and then schedule a time (June 18, 19, or 20) for sampling. On the appointment day, the person will go through the SCHD drive-through sampling site where an NP swab will be collected. The swab will be sent to a laboratory for testing and the health department will provide the results of the tests generally three to four days later. The study will be offered at no cost to residents.

Those selected will receive a call from a 660 number. The full number expected to be released to the public by Friday.

“So that they will expect that call verses whose calling I’m not going to answer,” said Byrne.

Testing a random sample of residents is different from the COVID-19 testing currently provided at healthcare facilities. The current testing is performed on people who seek to be tested. Most have symptoms. The results do not necessarily reflect the true amount of COVID-19 in the Sedgwick County population. 

A second NP swab random sample study will occur in mid-July. Results will be compared to the June study to determine if the spread of coronavirus across the county has changed.

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