The Centre County COVID-19 Data 4 Action Research Project (Data 4 Action) is studying the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Centre County. Adult residents of Centre County took a survey and were presented with an opportunity to take part in follow-up research studies, including blood, saliva, and hair samples to test for the presence of antibodies to COVID-19. Meanwhile, student participants completed a short eligibility survey and also provided blood, saliva, and hair samples.
Currently, over 9,500 adult residents have taken the community survey. Of those surveyed, approximately 64% responded that their life has been moderately disrupted by the pandemic, while 32% said their life has been significantly disrupted. Only 4% responded that their life has not been disrupted at all.
Additionally, 90% responded they have a paid job and are currently working, while 10% responded they lost their job or were furloughed. Of the over 1,400 participants also taking part in the biological testing portion of the project, approximately 2% have been exposed to Covid-19.
Data from student participants is currently being collected, but of those students who have been tested, approximately 15% have been exposed it COVID-19. This is higher than the 11% positivity rate being reported through the University’s testing program.
Of those students who were exposed to Covid-19, approximately 18 percent experienced moderate to severe symptoms, while the majority experienced either no or mild symptoms.
This group also participated in a survey to track their behaviors to assess risk. The majority of students tested report they frequently wash their hands and wear masks, but maintaining social distance and avoiding large events were less often adhered to.
Researchers are hopeful that the combined data from both cohorts will enable them to assess the spillover of SARS-CoV-2 virus from the transient Penn State student population to permanent residents of Centre County.