University of Iowa and UCLA to collaborate on study to reduce risk of COVID-19

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Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 12:53 PM CDT
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A new 12-week study called the COVID-19 Evaluation of Risk for Emergency Departments (COVERED) Project seeks to find the best ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections among frontline healthcare workers in hospital emergency departments.

The study is a collaboration between the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and it's already received a $3.7 million grant from the CDC.

The goal is to determine which practices and personal protective equipment are most effective at preventing COVID-19 in an emergency setting in which healthcare personnel don't know if incoming patients have the virus, and in situations where emergency procedures can increase the risk of spreading the virus through the air.

The study will involve 1,600 emergency department personnel, including physicians, nurses, and staff, such as clerks, social workers, or case managers, in 20 academic health care institutions across the country.

“We don’t get many opportunities to gauge the risk of transmission during a global pandemic, so this study is somewhat unique,” said Nicholas Mohr, MD, co-principal investigator of the COVERED study and vice chair for research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa. “It is critical, however, to identify ways to reduce the risk of infection transmission to health care workers so that we can continue to take care of the people in our communities who need our help.”

Emergency medicine providers involved in the study will undergo screenings and biweekly blood tests to evaluate for COVID-19 exposure. They will also complete weekly questionnaires to document procedural practices.

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