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Carilion Clinic launches COVID-19 study in southwest Virginia

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 8:04 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Carilion Clinic and the Virginia Department of Health are partnering on a new COVID-19 study in southwest Virginia.

Carilion is now recruiting volunteers, with the goal of performing more than 5,000 blood tests by the end of the year. The health system says the effort will help public health officials understand how the pandemic is unfolding in our area, and guide their response.

Dr. Paul Skolnik is the Chair of Medicine at Carilion Clinic, and a leader of the health system’s COVID-19 response.

“The type of people we’re looking for is anyone who lives in this region, and I mean that, because we want a random sample, as best as we can achieve that,” Skolnik said during a briefing Tuesday morning.

He said the study Carilion is launching will let individuals know if they’ve been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. And it will give public health officials a more complete picture of how the virus has spread in southwest Virginia.

“It is an aggressive target in a short period of time, so we’re pulling out all of the stops to recruit and reach our number,” Skolnick said.

Carilion Clinic is recruiting volunteers in 22 localities that are part of the health system’s service area. The ultimate goal, Skolnik said, is to help stem the tide of COVID-19 in the region, “so that we can eventually open things up, get our workplaces, our restaurants, our bars, our entertainment venues open. So I view this as a way to help us get to where we all want to be.”

More than $500,000 in CARES Act funding will pay for the study. There is no cost for participants.

The public can enroll by taking a survey, Carilion is sharing on social media, and its website.

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