Two North Texas health systems working on COVID-19 study

Two health systems say they are working together on a COVID-19 prevalence study in North Texas.

Researchers at U.T. Southwestern are working with Texas Health Resources to determine why some groups are impacted more than others by the virus and what kind of protection people have after recovering from COVID-19 and for how long.

“Deaths is really the truest measure of severe disease and here when we take a look at deaths, once again, unfortunately, impacting Hispanic and African American communities much more than it should be,” said Dr. Amit Singal, U.T. Southwestern

Study organizers hope for 30,000 randomly selected households to respond to mailed invitations to participate -- half in Tarrant County half in Dallas County.

Participants will be tested and some will be followed for a year.

“That’s important because we'll be able to tell how long immunity lasts after you've been exposed,” Singal said.

The study is also folding in essential workers in restaurants and retail who've not gotten sick.

“Sometimes you don’t have symptoms and you can still be a danger to yourself and to your family and to your friends and co-workers,” said Dr. Jasmin Tiro, U.T. Southwestern.

The researchers need attention drawn to the mailed invitations, so they are looking for influencers like the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance pastors group to become what they call study ambassadors who post videos and information about the study.

“Since we have a population of over five million and we're only inventing 30,000 people, we're talking about needles in the haystack that we have to get aware of looking in their mail and that’s very challenging to do. That’s why we're asking you to help us to get the word out to have people check their mail,” Tiro said.