actOC is a collaborative research study between the University of California, Irvine, Program in Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) to conduct seroprevalance testing of COVID-19 antibodies among adults in Orange County.

If you have questions about the study, please use our chatline or call our hotline at 562-999-2567 between 9am and 6pm daily.

Para hablar con un miembro del personal del estudio en español, llame al (562) 999-2567 en estos días / horarios específicos. Martes 1 pm-3pm, Jueves 12 pm-2pm, Viernes 9 am-12pm

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I volunteer to participate in this study?

This is a county-level study to understand COVID-19 (commonly known as “novel coronavirus”) transmission across Orange County and to estimate county level prevalence. We are not currently accepting volunteers for the study but will be contacting a random sample of 5000 people across the county and screening for antibodies over the summer of 2020. The results of this study will help public health officials to estimate how many people in Orange County have been exposed to COVID-19–whether or not they have experienced any symptoms–in order to make policy decisions and prepare ahead in the event of future outbreaks. In the coming weeks, if you receive a call or email from a study representative asking questions about your COVID exposure, we hope you will take the time to respond, as if you are eligible to participate, you will be invited to join the study at that time and will then receive more information.

 

Why was I contacted to participate in this study?

We are working with a firm called MySoapBox to randomly contact adults in Orange County by phone and email on behalf of the UCI Program in Public Health and OCHCA. The purpose of this random selection process is to make sure that any adult (age 18+) from the county can be enrolled into the study, regardless of health status, age, race/ethnicity, gender, income, education, language, or other demographic factors. Your anonymity will be protected throughout the study. 

 

If I am contacted, do I have to participate in the study?

No. If we contact you, your participation is voluntary. Our goal is to recruit 5000 adults in Orange County for this study in order to provide OCHCA important information about how many Orange County residents may already have had COVID-19. 

 

Can I refer friends or family members to this study?

No. We can only test those people who we have randomly contacted and subsequently determined via survey to be eligible to participate. In rare cases, our recruitment firm may also invite your family members to participate in the study after speaking with you. In this case, if your family members agree to participate, we will officially enroll them into the study and provide them with their own unique study ID numbers and appointment times for testing. 

Can I bring others with me to the testing site?

Yes. However, we will ONLY test those people who have actually been enrolled in the study and arrive at the testing site with their own unique study ID number. In keeping with social distancing measures, we recommend that, should you choose to bring someone with you to the testing site, you only bring members of your household

If I don’t feel well, can I still get tested?

In the event that you have symptoms, you can still get tested at one of our sites, but if your symptoms are severe or worsening, we request that you please seek immediate medical care from your primary health care provider rather than coming to the testing site. Our blood test looks for evidence of past infection, not current infection.  In order to protect others, please don’t use public transportation if you have symptoms.

If I am under a “stay-at-home” order, can I still get tested?

While Orange County has begun the process of reopening, some individuals have been recommended to isolate themselves or remain at home. (Up-to-date orders and recommendations from the county health officer can be found here.) If you are under a stay-at-home order, you can still come to the drive-through testing site at your appointment time to get tested. Activities related to this study are considered “essential,” as your participation helps the efforts of public health researchers and public health officials to determine community-level COVID-19 prevalence in Orange County. However, please see our recommendations above if you have severe symptoms

What kind of test will I receive?

If you enroll in our study, you will receive an “antibody” research screening test (also known as a “serology” test) at one of our drive-thru testing sites. The test looks for antibodies against the COVID-19 virus in your blood. The antibody test is different from the test used to diagnose current COVID-19 infection (i.e. a PCR- or antigen-based test), cannot tell if you have an infection right now, and should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. We are not using an FDA-approved antibody test but rather a highly sensitive antibody research screening test that has been developed by scientists at UCI. The test requires a small finger prick that allows us to collect a few drops of your blood. This antibody test checks your blood for the level of COVID-19 antibodies, which are part of the body’s defenses against infections and, in the case of COVID-19, are produced following exposure to the novel coronavirus. Antibodies stay in the blood even after the infection is over. 

Will I receive my test results at the testing site?

A “low value” result means that the test did not find evidence of antibodies that usually develop after COVID-19 infection. This can mean one of the following three things:

  1. You have not had infection from COVID-19.
  2. You may have COVID-19, but the infection is very recent (within the past 3-7 days), and antibodies have not developed yet. This is unlikely, but if you are having symptoms such as fever or cough you should talk with your medical provider.
  3. The test result was a false negative which means that you do have COVID-19 antibodies even though the test results say you do not. Though the test manufacturer has evaluated the tests and results show this test is accurate, no test is perfect and there is a small chance that a “low value” test was a “false negative.”

If you have a LOW VALUE, it means that the test found no evidence that you were previously infected with COVID-19, or that you have any immunity against COVID-19.

What does it mean if I test “high value”?

A “high value” antibody test can mean one of the following three things:

  1. You had COVID-19 in the past and have recovered from it. Because antibodies are part of the normal immune response and stay in the blood after recovering from an illness, they show that someone has had an infection in the past. This means you could be protected from another infection from COVID-19, but we do not know for sure.
  2. You may have active COVID-19 illness now. This is unlikely, as this test is not designed to identify current infection. But if you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or cough, you should discuss your situation with your medical provider.
  3. The test result was a false positive, which means that you have no antibodies to COVID-19 even though the test results say that you do.  We believe this test is accurate, but no test is perfect and there is a small chance that a “high value” test was a “false positive.” 

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

For any additional questions or concerns, more information on COVID-19 can be found in your study handouts and online at: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/. You may contact our study staff daily between 9 am and 6 pm by calling (562) 999-2567 or by using our live chatline at https://sites.uci.edu/covid19chatline/. The principal investigator of this study is Bernadette Boden-Albala.

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