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These FAQs aim to clarify the SCAN study and our researchers' role in supporting public health’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As new information becomes available, we will update this list to reflect the latest details.
The SCAN study is a partnership between the Brotman Baty Institute, University of Washington Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, working in coordination with Public Health — Seattle & King County. SCAN relies on data modeling support from the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM).
SCAN is funded by Gates Ventures (the private office of Bill Gates) and receives technical guidance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other public health authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) is providing in-person technical assistance to help launch SCAN. Amazon provides infrastructure and logistics capability for this effort in the greater Seattle area, along with other delivery partners.
To track the spread of active COVID-19 infections, the SCAN study will collect nasal swabs from a sample of people across Seattle and King County, working to mirror the area’s population as closely as possible. We’ll collect swabs from both those who are healthy and those who feel sick and will also allocate a portion of our testing capacity for children, high risk populations, under-represented communities, and family members and close contacts of SCAN participants who test positive for COVID-19. The results of these tests will help us understand the outbreak more completely and, along with other data sources, help inform public health decisions.
People in the greater Seattle/King County area can sign up for SCAN via this website. Here’s how it works:
- Answer a few questions, and request a kit via our survey.
- If possible, we’ll send a free swab kit to your home.
- Use the kit to complete an at- home nasal swab and follow directions to return it to our labs.
- Your swab will be tested. You can find out if your results are positive or negative on the confidential SCAN website. If your results show that your test is positive, that means you may have coronavirus and you will be contacted by a healthcare member of our research team,
If you think you have coronavirus, contact a doctor or other healthcare provider for guidance. SCAN is not a replacement for medical care, nor a program to provide a personal diagnosis to individuals. We are studying the spread of coronavirus in our community, and providing data to help public health teams make decisions. If you’re severely ill, such as having trouble breathing, please contact a doctor or healthcare provider right away.
Anyone in the Greater Seattle/King County area may be eligible to contribute a nasal swab to SCAN, including children. For children under the age of 18, we require a parent or legal guardian to complete the sign up and permissions process on their behalf.
We’re asking people in our community to sign up for the SCAN study to help protect our community. Our research is designed to understand where and how the virus is spreading—whether people show symptoms or not—and which communities are most affected. These insights will help our scientists and our local public officials understand the outbreak more completely and, along with other data sources, inform public health decisions. We believe this can also help lead the way forward for the rest of the country.
Codes may be provided to increase participation across King County. This allows SCAN to understand how the virus may be spreading across the county. If you don’t have a code, you may still request a swab kit.
COVID-19 is a new virus and there is evidence that it can spread even among those who don’t show symptoms. Testing people who aren’t feeling sick can help us learn more about who can get infected and ways to slow transmission of the virus.
The SCAN study supports but is not a part of Public Health – Seattle & King County, which is leading the public health response to coronavirus for all of King County.
It is completely free to participate in the SCAN study. You do not need to have health insurance in order to be tested. Participating in SCAN’s research will not affect your health insurance and all the information we collect will be confidential. SCAN is not part of your medical care, and will not be shared with your healthcare providers or insurance companies unless you choose to share information with a provider on your own.
SCAN uses at-home nasal swabs to test for presence of the SARS-COV-2 virus during active infection, in an effort to provide a near-real time snapshot of the virus in our community. We do not do any serological sampling for previous infections (antibody testing) at this time.
Your privacy is extremely important to us! Only the research team will have access to the information that you provide. No data directly linked to you will ever be made publicly available. To protect access to your results, you will be given a personal barcode.
All study information will be stored in a secure, confidential manner. We will also store aggregated information separately from your personal information in order to understand trends in how coronavirus is spreading.
Washington State law also requires that we report certain conditions (including COVID-19) to Local Health Jurisdictions and the Department of Health. If your sample tests positive for one of these conditions, these organizations may contact you to ask you additional questions. They will keep your information private.
The SCAN Dashboard provides a publicly accessible, up-to-date snapshot of how many SCAN kits have been delivered, where they have been delivered, the rate of COVID-19 positives among SCAN participants, and demographic information about SCAN participants. Data is updated daily, and reported positives reflect the tests collected and analyzed by the SCAN study.
SCAN tests for a range of respiratory pathogens with participant consent. In addition to SARS-CoV-2, these include Rhinovirus, parainfluenza, metapneumovirus, RSV A, RSV B, Flu A (H1N1), Flu A (H3N2), Flu B, and common coronaviruses. Aggregated information from these results is published periodically in publicly-available reports, and findings are used to help inform King County’s ongoing public health response.