Maricopa County health officials launch 'Serosurvey' to learn COVID-19 antibody numbers

Health officials are trying to figure out how many people in Maricopa County have been infected with COVID-19 beyond those who've tested positive.

The health department is launching its new project, "Serosurvey," to find out how many others have had COVID-19 that weren't reported to the county because they weren't tested -- for a variety of reasons.

The project is launching the week of Sept. 7 and the goal is to get 500 people, or 210 households, to volunteer within the county.

The health department is teaming up with Arizona State University and the Mayo Clinic to collect samples from people in 29 communities to estimate how many people currently have COVID-19 antibodies.

Starting Sept. 12, health officials will go door to door looking for volunteers to participate. They say not everyone who has been infected, were tested because they might not have experienced any symptoms or couldn't access a test.

The ultimate goal of the project is to understand when the county has reached community, or herd, immunity.

"This will help us determine how many people need to be vaccinated in Maricopa County once a vaccine is available and also relay out strategies for social distancing and mask recommendations," explained Marcey Flanagan, Maricopa County Department of Public Health Executive Director.

Samples collected from participants of the survey will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies by the Mayo Clinic. Test results will be available within one to two weeks.

All information will be kept confidential and samples will be destroyed after being analyzed.

If your neighborhood is one of the selected areas, you will get a notice on your front door the week of Sept. 7 letting you know that they will be in your area from Sept. 12-20.

Those knocking on your door will have badges and shirts saying who they are and what they are doing.