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Harvard joins Puerto Rico’s COVID-19 Surveillance System

Harvard University’s School of Public Health has joined the COVID-19 Surveillance System, which is led by a team of epidemiologists from Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce Research Institute and the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, the academic institutions announced.

Through a collaborative agreement, the schools will work jointly in the collection and analysis of data on the Coronavirus pandemic.

This effort will allow evaluating the surveillance system in collaboration with Josiemer Mattei from Harvard University and exploring the option of integrating other Latino communities in the near future, said Melissa Marzán, chief investigator of the COVID-19 Surveillance System in Puerto Rico.

“This collaboration strengthens this surveillance system by allowing other jurisdictions to join the effort and allow a better understanding of how COVID19 is developed in our communities in Puerto Rico and, soon, in the United States,” Marzán said.

“These data will allow monitoring the prevalence of symptoms associated with COVID19 and identify possible areas of higher incidence of the virus. This allows us to plan medical and prevention services more effectively by regions,” said Marzán.

The COVID-19 Surveillance System is an online syndromic monitoring platform whose purpose is to obtain data that allows learning about possible COVID-19 outbreaks and evaluating how the virus behaves in different regions.

Through a link, people voluntarily and anonymously access a survey in which they answer several simple questions about their demographics, as well as questions about recent symptoms.

Based on geolocators by area code and on the presentation of symptoms, the information collected in real time helps to quickly identify how the virus, based on symptoms, is behaving in the different regions of Puerto Rico. So far, about 36,000 people in Puerto Rico have participated in the study.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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