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TRACE COVID-19 Results Suggest 5 In 1,000 Infected In Eugene

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Sean Nealon
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Teams from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon recently partnered to test a random sample of residents in Eugene-- for COVID-19. The results are in.

(This report was updated 11/25/2020  with a statement from TRACE Project co-leader on the statistical modeling and additional information used to yield COVID-19 prevelance results in Eugene.)

Over November 7th and 8th, 463 Eugenians said ‘yes’ to take a self-administered, nasal swab test from their doorstep. Of those samples, there were zero positive results for SARS-Cov-2.

Scientists at OSU-- and two other universities unaffiliated with the TRACE project-- sussed out the current data on the incidence of COVID-19 infections in the city. 

The statistical model that yielded the estimated prevalence of 5 per 1000 took into account the possibility of false negative results, the number of new cases in Eugene in the two weeks prior to sampling, as well as an estimate of the number of cases that do not show symptoms. Incorporating this additional information allows for an improved estimate of prevalence in the community.

They estimated a prevalence of 5 infected people per 1,000 in Eugene.

“Now, this may seem low-- but prevalence only indicates how relatively abundant the virus is in the target population.”

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Credit Sean Nealon
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The first weekend in November, Beavers and Ducks teamed up with TRACE Community to conduct random COVID-19 testing around Eugene. 

OSU’s Jeff Bethel is co-director of TRACE and a professor of epidemiology. He said these results- and the pandemic in general- really come down to a numbers game. “The more people you’re around, the greater the odds of encountering an infected person.”

Eugene has a population of 172,000, nealy half of Lane County's populus. COVID-19 cases have surged in recent weeks with the majority identified in the Eugene/Springfield area. Thus far in the pandemic, there have been over 3,600 cases and 37 deaths related to the virus in Lane County.

Bethel hopes to take the TRACE project on the road to more Oregon cities.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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