COVID-19 CASPER Survey: Frequently Asked Questions
CASPER stands for Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response. It is a quick way for public health workers to understand the needs of a community. It is an evidenced-based tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is conducting a modified CASPER survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Minnesota’s communities.
A team of public health workers and a health care professional will come to your door. They will have a vehicle with the State of Minnesota logo on it and will have an MDH vest and name tag.
They will ask you to answer a brief questionnaire (survey). Then, the team's health care professional will complete two tests if you agree to participate. You can do one or both of the tests. They are:
- A nasal swab test: a health care professional will swab the inside of your nose to see if you currently have COVID-19.
- A serology test, also called an antibody test: a health care professional will collect a few drops of blood from your finger to see if you have previously been infected with COVID-19. This is done through a finger prick with minimal pain.
Yes, all public health survey teams will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes masks for all members of the team and gowns and gloves for the sample collector. Gowns will be changed between houses and gloves will be changed between each person.
Only with your permission.
It is estimated that it will take 15-20 minutes per household member. For example, if there are two members of the household the visit should take less than an hour.
Yes, translators will be available.
No, you do not have to participate. It is voluntary. You can participate in part of the survey and tests or complete the whole process. You can opt out at any point. All information will be kept private.
You will be asked to sign a consent form before survey and tests take place. However, if you are uncomfortable and would not like to proceed at any point, let the survey members know you would like to withdraw your consent and your samples and responses will not be included in the study.
Along with free COVID-19 tests, participating households will receive a $20 gift card. To qualify for the gift card, at least one household member must submit one test and answer the questionnaire. For example, a household could get the gift card by providing only the serology (antibody) sample if they’re not interested in the PCR (nasal swab). It is standard protocol when conducting a study to provide a small incentive to thank research participants for their time.
You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions or share concerns with the survey team. This is a great opportunity to provide information that will add to what we know about COVID-19 in Minnesota and help us slow the spread.
You will be asked to fill out a survey that includes basic information such as your name, date of birth, phone number, address, and race to help us better understand which populations COVID-19 is affecting the most. This information will remain private.
All health information collected during the survey will remain confidential. Positive nasal swab test results will be shared with the health department case investigation team to follow up.
The information collected from samples and surveys will be destroyed after three years.
Participants will receive their test results for both the COVID-19 nasal swab and the antibody (serology) test. If your test results are negative, a health care professional will send you a text message with your results. If either of your test results are positive, a health care professional will call you with your results and provide further information. You should hear back within a few days and receive a paper copy a few weeks later.
We still do not know how well these tests work. None of the tests on the market have been fully studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA and federal health and human services have given some of the tests special, temporary approval to test for antibodies.
The locations were chosen using traditional public health methods to make sure Minnesotans are equally represented.
The survey team will attempt to reach your household three separate times. If there is no response after the third time, they will choose another household.
If an interview team comes to your home, then you can agree to participate. If they come to your home and miss you, they will leave behind a flyer and return. Because the selections are random, we are unable to have people sign up.
Free community testing events are offered in areas with outbreaks, increasing cases, or other barriers to access existing test sites. Information on upcoming testing events are posted on COVID-19 Community Testing.
You can also talk to your health care provider about getting tested. Federal law requires health insurance plans to cover diagnostic and antibody testing at no cost to patients. There may be charges associated with the office visit to get tested. Check with your clinic and insurance company for more details.
The information being collected will help us to:
- Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.
- Understand what factors influence COVID-19 infection in areas with community transmission.
- Explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota.
- Identify what percent of the population is infected with COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.
- Improve health messaging and prevent COVID-19 spread.
State case data will be largely unaffected as only a small number of people are being tested each day. Certain counties may see small changes in their positivity rates.
Antibody tests will be recorded separately from positive test counts.