Oh my. Joe Cadillic sent along a news item posted by Click2Houston that says that representatives of Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will be going door-to-door to randomly selected homes, collecting blood samples to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.
Now before you panic totally, the county’s statement mentions that the blood collection will be on a consensual basis:
HCPH outreach teams will be in different county areas from November 15 – December 15, 2020, from 8am –
5pm, visiting randomly selected homes seeking residents willing to participate in the survey. Only homes
approached by the teams are eligible to participate and participation is voluntary.
Participants will be asked to provide answers to survey questions and provide blood samples that will be tested for
the presence of antibodies. Once completed, the survey will assist policymakers and health experts understand
how vulnerable the community remains to the virus, and how frequently asymptomatic or mild cases occur.
The county lists the important goals the survey is intended to address.
What it doesn’t say is what happens to the blood samples drawn. Are they destroyed immediately? Stored? Can they be used for any other purpose?
PogoWasRight put the questions to the County’s Twitter team yesterday and they said they will get back to me. When they do, I will update this post.
Update: Here are the county’s answers to my questions:
Blood samples may be retained for up to seven years for analysis with COVID-19 tests that may be developed in the future. Storage of samples is not mandatory. Permission is requested via informed consent.
Current participation is not linked to or dependent on the sample being stored for future use.
To your third question, no the form is not online.