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COVID CASPER study to be conducted in Crow Wing County


Crow Wing County will have a team from the Minnesota Department of Health in the area Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 24-26, collecting data for the COVID CASPER study. Four small areas will be targeted: two in Brainerd, one in Crosslake and one in Nisswa.

The team will do interviews and take blood and nasal swab samples. This information will tell MDH more about the COVID virus spread in Crow Wing County. Participation is voluntary. Team members are public health workers. Survey teams will be wearing masks when first knocking on the door as well as vests with name tags that identify them as members of an MDH CASPER team. Their vehicles will have magnets on the side that say, "COVID-19 Survey Team."

For more information, visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/casper.html.

The voluntary, in-person survey is to help the MDH to understand the effect COVID-19 is having on Minnesota communities. The survey is called a modified Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER survey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed CASPER as an evidence-based tool to assess community needs. They have been used before to collect household information during public health emergencies such as hurricanes, oil spills and the Zika virus outbreak. Several other states are also conducting COVID-19 CASPERs.

Information learned from the survey will help public health workers, and others who are part of the COVID-19 response, make decisions that best meet the needs of each community affected by COVID-19. Through the CASPER survey, MDH hopes to:


  • Understand how COVID-19 has spread in Minnesota communities.

  • Understand what caused COVID-19 to spread in certain areas.

  • Explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota.

  • Identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 that have no symptoms.

  • Improve health messaging and help stop COVID-19 spread.

The survey is funded through COVID-19 relief funds approved by the Minnesota Legislature to conduct this survey and other studies.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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