The greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) study, a coalition of several organizations helping to support and inform King County’s response to COVID-19, has identified three priorities for 2021:
- Gaining greater knowledge of COVID-19, especially as new variants emerge;
- Working with community-based organizations to reduce inequities in testing and access to COVID-related resources, and;
- Ensuring testing is available to groups at highest risk of infection, including essential workers and residents of adult family homes.
By way of background, SCAN was created in March of 2020 as a research study conducted by the team behind the Seattle Flu Study, in association with Public Health — Seattle & King County. The team not only developed protocols for acquiring samples through its “swab-and-send” process, but also labs affiliated with the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine (BBI) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center pivoted to conduct testing and sequencing for the coronavirus.
SCAN’s goals are to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Seattle/King County region and to help public health officials gain a more complete understanding of the virus. Over the past 12 months, SCAN has developed protocols for testing home-collected samples for the coronavirus and, as a result, has conducted more than 50,000 tests for King and Pierce County residents. Previous SCAN reports have provided insights on local COVID-19 transmission and behaviors.
Redirecting resources after one year of the pandemic
Following the one-year anniversary of the first detection of community transmission in the United States, SCAN is redirecting resources to address priorities that reflect knowledge gained from the past 12 months, as well as the changing state of the pandemic. That redirection includes three primary areas:
- Gaining knowledge on how COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases are transmitted, especially as new variants emerge, and by studying the effects of existing vaccines on those variants.
- Providing testing support for an initiative led by Public Health — Seattle & King County and HealthierHere, a local non-profit collaborative, which are working with more than 30 local organizations serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities to better understand how to reduce inequities in testing and access to COVID-related resources, including SCAN testing strategies.
- Supporting efforts by Public Health — Seattle & King County to ensure testing is available to groups that are at highest risk of infection, including contacts of known positive cases, essential workers in the case of workplace outbreaks, as well as staff and residents across the more than 1,000 adult family homes in King County.
“The SCAN program is valuable to our contact tracing team, allowing an important option for home testing of people during their isolation or quarantine period, as well as convenient testing to worksites and adult family homes,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
The SCAN coalition recently added the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. SCAN is led by BBI, in collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s. In addition, the Institute for Disease Modeling at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides data modeling support.
SCAN is funded by Gates Ventures, the private office of Bill Gates, and receives technical assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Originally posted on March 18, 2021.