The Holyoke Board of Health and Massachusetts General Hospital are conducting a research study to determine how many people in Holyoke have had COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It aims to find out who has been most at risk for COVID-19 so far, and to learn more about how it spreads.

Why is it important?

The spread of COVID-19 has impacted many communities, forcing city and state officials to implement containment strategies such as lockdowns and other social distancing measures. Sero-epidemiologic studies, which measure antibody levels in individuals in the community, can help understand what percentage of individuals and what communities have had COVID-19, and identify risk factors for the disease. This information will help the Holyoke Board of Health make informed decisions about COVID-19 public health response measures such as reopening, addressing needs of families, and other efforts that will impact the Holyoke community.

Who can participate?

Invitation letters have been sent to randomly selected households in Holyoke. All household members of those selected households are eligible for this study.

What does the study involve? What will participants be asked to do? 

Participants may be asked to:

  1. Fill out a survey questionnaire about household demographics, work and health conditions, and possible exposures to COVID-19.
  2. Collect and mail some drops of blood from their fingertip for an antibody test.

What are the possible risks and discomforts of the study?

A small bruise is possible from the fingerstick to collect the drops of blood. As with most research studies, a possible risk relates to the loss of privacy. But the study has several measures in place to protect participants’ information.

What are the possible benefits?

Though there is no direct individual benefit, participation in the study may provide valuable information about the spread and prevention of COVID-19.

Is there compensation for participating in the study?

Households will receive a $25 cash gift card for their participation.

What is the duration of the study?

Enrollment for this study is expected to close at the latest on November 30, 2020.

Who can be contacted for more information?

For questions about the study, contact the study team at  617-726-0105.

Dr. Louise Ivers is the person in charge of the study and can be contacted at 617-643-6911.

The Board of Health of Holyoke can be contacted at (413) 322-5595.