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Source: Cameron Ridle / CAMERON RIDLE

INDIANAPOLIS — Preliminary results from a new state study about the impact of COVID-19 on Indiana suggest as many as 186,000 Hoosiers were actively or previously infected as of May 1.

The study, conducted by Indiana University and the Indiana State Department of Health, show a general population prevalence of about 2.8 percent of the state’s population.

“What we knew through conventional detection methods — testing symptomatic people and those at high-risk for COVID-19 — was just the tip of the iceberg,” Nir Menachemi, lead scientist of the study and a professor and Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, said. “Now we’re trying to figure out how big that iceberg actually is.”

Paul Halverson, founding dean of the Fairbanks School of Public Health, said continued testing will answer the question and assist with fighting the spread of COVID-19.

“Ideally, we would test every Hoosier,” Halverson said. “But the next best thing is random sample testing, a scientific approach that allows us to confidently assess how COVID-19 has spread in Indiana, without having to test everyone.”

In the first phase of the study, researchers tested more than 4,600 Hoosiers between April 25 and May 1 for viral infections and antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The number includes more than 3,600 people who were randomly selected and an additional 900 volunteers recruited through outreach to the African-American and Hispanic communities to more accurately represent state demographics.

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