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VDH announces results of COVID-19 serology study

FILE - In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a woman has blood drawn for COVID-19 antibody testing in Dearborn, Mich. Antibodies that people make to fight coronavirus infection last at least four months and do not fade quickly as some earlier reports suggested -- a good sign that vaccines may be able to give long-lasting immunity, scientists are reporting on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine.
FILE - In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a woman has blood drawn for COVID-19 antibody testing in Dearborn, Mich. Antibodies that people make to fight coronavirus infection last at least four months and do not fade quickly as some earlier reports suggested -- a good sign that vaccines may be able to give long-lasting immunity, scientists are reporting on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine.((Paul Sancya | AP Photo/Paul Sancya))
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 12:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday the results of its Coronavirus Serology Project that was conducted during the summer.

VDH said an estimated 2.4 percent of adults in the Commonwealth showed evidence of a previous COVID-19 infection in an antibody test.

Furthermore, the presence of antibodies was highest in Hispanic people (10.2 percent), Northern Virginia residents (4.4 percent) and among individuals who were uninsured or insured through Medicaid (3.8 percent).

Throughout Virginia, Hispanic ethnicity, residing in an apartment building or other multi-family housing unit and reported contact with a COVID-19 case significantly increased the risk of having a positive antibody test.

VDH said the findings will help the Commonwealth address the pandemic by understanding risk factors and providing the health system with information for future health care needs.

“The results are in line with the preliminary findings we reported in August that suggested a relatively low rate of COVID-19 exposure overall among Virginia adults,” said M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A., Virginia State Health Commissioner.  “Virginians are avoiding infections by following recommendations on wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing. We continue to study the higher rate of infection in Hispanic adults and to work with community partners to formulate additional interventions.”

VDH said it partnered with a health system in each of Virginia’s five health planning regions to estimated the total number of people who had been infected with the virus in the past. From June 1 to August 14, 4,675 adult outpatients presenting for non-COVID-related health care agreed to complete a questionnaire and provide a blood sample for antibody testing. The VDH said enrollment was stratified to meet the age, race and ethnic population distribution of each region.

Participating health care systems included: Inova Health System (Northern), Virginia Commonwealth University (Central), Sentara Healthcare (Eastern), Carilion Clinic (Southwest), and University of Virginia (Northwest).

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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