A COVID-19 study commissioned by Houston’s Democratic Mayor saw city employees get sent to random homes requesting blood samples for antibody testing.
In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the study represents a highly invasive manner of collecting data that Mayor Sylvester Turner justified as “helping inform strategies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.”
The Houston Health Department press release reads:
Teams consisting of Houston Health Department staff and Houston Fire Department paramedics will visit randomly selected homes across Houston, asking household members to answer survey questions and provide a blood sample. Phase one is set to take place Sept. 8-24, with phase two starting in the winter of 2021.
“If we knock on your door, I strongly encourage you and your loved ones to participate in this important survey,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The data you provide by participating will help inform strategies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.”
As COVID-19 cases in Houston soared in July, the health department launched its Better. Together. campaign, encouraging Houstonians to work together to stop the spread of the virus, particularly in hard-hit, vulnerable communities. During the first month of the campaign, Houston’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped from 20% to 7.8%
“The Houston Health Department’s Better. Together. public health education campaign reminds Houstonians we must work together to overcome the virus and this antibody study is an opportunity to help,” said Mayor Turner.
Only homes approached by the teams are eligible to participate, and participation is voluntary. The teams will be identifiable by their Better. Together. shirts.