Researchers at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute will be following both patients with and without COVID-19 to better understand the symptoms and risk factors of COVID-19.​

The COVID Epidemiology Study is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will use the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network. This Network includes five study sites from across the U.S., including the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at the Research Institute, which typically recruits patients that seek care for acute respiratory illnesses such as the flu.​

This network will now be conducting similar research on COVID-19. Patients that are tested for COVID-19 by their Marshfield Clinic Health System provider will be asked to participate in the study.

“This study will help us understand more about COVID-19 infection in different age groups, the severity and length of illness, risk factors and long term effects," said Edward Belongia, M.D., principal investigator for the study. “We don't know much about COVID-19 in the U.S., and we know almost nothing about this disease in rural populations. This is one of several planned COVID-19 studies that will fill in some of those gaps."

Research staff will call potential participants over the phone to see if they are interested in participating. Those that consent to participate in the study will first participate in a brief enrollment interview. They will then be asked to complete two surveys over the next 14 days that will assess the participant's symptoms, recovery time, additional medical care needed and any additional illnesses in the household.

The study also will be asking those that test negative for COVID-19 to participate. Most participants will provide a blood sample several weeks after recovery to measure antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The investigators will use these results to look for additional evidence of infection.

The five study sites participating in the COVID Epidemiology Study are Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, University of Michigan, Baylor Scott & White, University of Pittsburgh and Kaiser Washington.