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State health officials will visit multiple Cook County homes this week for COVID-19 testing

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is conducting a voluntary statewide survey through the end of September to help officials better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in the state, including in Cook County. The survey will include free COVID-19 testing for all members of participating households.

Through Sept. 30, teams of public health professionals will be visiting seven randomly selected households in Cook County to conduct the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey, according to Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager.

Starting Sept. 21, MDH will have staff in orange vests visiting the preselected homes in Cook County, where health officials will ask questions about health behaviors/beliefs related to COVID-19, and then do two COVID tests. The tests include a diagnostic test using a nasal swab, and an antibody test using a finger prick. Participants will get the results of their tests and a $20 gift card if they choose to participate, Grinager said.

MDH said the goals of the survey are to:

• Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.
• Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in certain areas.
• Explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota.
• Identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 that have no symptoms.
• Improve health messaging and help stop COVID-19 spread.

Grinager spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the CASPER survey and more local news and information regarding COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic. The audio to their conversation, which aired live Sept. 21, is shared below.