Leadership Update from the Seattle Flu Study
In recent weeks, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has progressed, our community has come together to face this unprecedented challenge. Thanks largely to the many participants who have contributed to our research over the past two years, the Seattle Flu Study has been learning how we can better detect, monitor, and control outbreaks in our city.
When we began in 2018, we could not have anticipated the need to shift our resources so quickly to track the progression of COVID-19. But we feel fortunate that the platform we’ve helped to create, with your participation, is in a position to do just that.
For the past several weeks our team has been working to adapt our project from research study to public health response. We are partnering with Public Health — Seattle & King County to launch the greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network—or SCAN for short.
To track the spread of COVID-19, SCAN will collect nasal swabs from a sample of people across Seattle and King County, working to mirror the area’s population as closely as possible. We’ll collect swabs from both those who are healthy and those who feel sick and will also test de-identified clinical residual samples (these are left-over samples from tests performed for other reasons at clinical laboratories). The results of these tests will help us understand the outbreak more completely and, along with other data sources, help inform public health decisions. SCAN is not able to offer testing to every individual but the whole community will benefit from the program.
We want to thank the entire community for your ongoing support as our team begins this new partnership with Public Health.
-- The Seattle Flu Study Investigators
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FAQ about SCAN:
I don’t feel well and am worried I have coronavirus. Can SCAN help me?
SCAN is a surveillance program and not a clinical service. The purpose is to take samples from the community and build a model for how COVID-19 is moving through our region. Our primary goal is to first understand where the virus exists in our region and how it is spreading. SCAN will provide results and advice to people who test positive to decrease the risk of spreading the infection.
However, SCAN has limited testing capacity and is not a substitute for checking in with your healthcare provider. If you don’t feel well or suspect you might have COVID-19, stay home, contact your healthcare provider and follow public health guidance.
I submitted my flu test a while ago. Will I get a result?
All participants who enrolled in the Seattle Flu Study will receive a result for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unanticipated delay in our lab work. We are working as quickly as we can to test the previous samples. You will be notified when results become available.
I previously submitted a sample to the Seattle Flu Study. Will my sample be tested for coronavirus? Can I know the result?
We will be testing Seattle Flu Study research samples for COVID-19. Now there are clearer guidelines for COVID-19 results that can be given to participants under a new lab certification received on March 19. Participants who signed a consent form after March 4 are eligible to receive COVID-19 results. If your sample tests positive, you will be contacted directly by a healthcare worker with more information. We expect to have tested all samples and contacted all positives by April 10th, 2020.
For participants whose sample tests negative for COVID-19, we do not currently have the capacity to notify you. For all participants, we still aim to return flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) results. You will be notified when those results become available.
Seattle Flu Study samples that have already been tested are not eligible to be retested. Thank you for your patience.
My family is signed up for the household study. Will this continue?
Yes. Although the Seattle Flu Study is transitioning most of its resources to SCAN, the household study will continue. If you have already enrolled or qualified for the study, you will still be able to participate.