This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLAYTON, Mo. – You may be getting a call offering a VISA gift card and a free COVID-19 test for participating in a 30-minute long survey. St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page says that they need your feedback to help make policy decisions to help stop the spread of the virus. Washington University’s Institute for Public Health is teaming up with other health agencies to conduct the 5,000 person survey.

The phone survey will include questions about race, gender, age, and other questions about how residents may have been affected by the virus and its economic impact. Participants will be chosen randomly and they will receive a free COVID-19 test at locations around St. Louis County, regardless of whether they have symptoms. They will get diagnostic tests to see if they have the virus right now or antibody tests to see if they have been exposed in the past.

All participants will be notified of their test results. Anyone who tests positive will be given a thermometer, pulse oximeter, masks, and hand sanitizer. The pulse oximeter helps to measure oxygen levels in the blood during infection. All of these tools are to people who test positive with their recovery. Medical personnel will also follow up with anyone who tests positive.

“We want to encourage St. Louis County residents who receive a call to participate in the survey and testing. The information they provide and the testing will be vital in helping us understand the impact of the pandemic in our region. We won’t know the extent of COVID-19 cases in the region without testing a random sample of the population,” writes William Powderly, MD, director of Washington University’s Institute for Public Health

The study will cost nearly $2 million and the funds will come from the federal CARES Act. Washington University will be analyzing the data and reporting back to St. Louis County. All of the findings of the study will be made public. But, all personal information will remain confidential.

St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page says that the 5,000 person sample size is more than adequate to determine how the virus is spreading in the area.

“We don’t fully know how the virus has affected the health and well-being of St. Louis County residents or how many may be infected with COVID-19 without feeling sick or getting a test,” writes Spring Schmidt, acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health in a statememt. “This project will be instrumental in helping us make service delivery decisions that ease the stress and suffering for residents in the county – especially for those most affected.”

Results will help the department determine:

  • The proportion of residents who have had the virus compared with how many have been tested.
  • How the virus has affected residents’ health and well-being.
  • How best to address disparities between racial groups as they pertain to COVID-19.
  • Which risk factors are most commonly associated with COVID-19.
  • Preventive and/or mitigation measures regarding the virus.

This survey is not related to any current COVID-19 vaccine or treatment trials. Call 314-273-3620 for more information or visit