Two COVID-19 testing research studies have begun in The Dalles this week at the North Central Public Health District office, and each study provides a $50 VISA gift card to participants.
The larger study is open to anyone 18 and older, regardless of whether they’ve had COVID or been vaccinated. Researchers, who speak English and Spanish, will be in The Dalles most weekdays for the next two weeks.
It asks people to complete a survey and provide either a saliva sample and a nasal COVID-19 test, or two nasal COVID tests. The nasal tests are not the deep probe swab, nor are they the shallow swab. They are midway between the two.
The researchers will take walk-in or scheduled appointments. To participate, call 503-593-3076 or email RADxOregon@ohsu.edu. People can complete the needed survey at home and go to NCPHD, at 419 E. 7th St., for the saliva or nasal test.
The study is funded by the National Institute of Health, and Oregon Health & Science is partnering with NCPHD in The Dalles and One Community Health in Hood River on the research. The two study sites in the Gorge are the only rural study sites in the nation. The saliva and nasal samples collected will go into a biorepository bank at the University of Massachusetts.
The goal of the research project is to create a reliable, self-serve COVID test that people could operate themselves at venues such as at sports bars or airports, said Laura Ferrara, research coordinator for this project with OHSU.
Researchers hope to get 100 local participants in that study. They will work to accommodate people’s schedules, Farrar said.