Early results indicate that just over half of the 1,029 New Hampshire households surveyed (and 68% of individuals within those households) had been completely symptom-free during the past four weeks. The most commonly reported symptoms were runny nose/nasal congestion (27 percent of households), sore throat (15 percent), persistent dry cough (9 percent), and fever (8 percent).
“Without laboratory testing we don’t know which of these symptoms are caused by COVID-19 or by other common viruses that circulate in winter, but we’ll understand that question better by following people over time—so it’s critical that our participants continue to give us information in our daily health survey,” says Judy Rees, MD, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology at Geisel who is co-leading the effort with Tracy Keirns, PhD, assistant director of the UNH Survey Center.
“Another thing we’re seeing is that fewer than 20 percent of households are substantially reducing their exposure to family members with cough or shortness of breath by trying to isolate them in the home,” says Rees. “Isolation isn’t easy in families with children, but in older age groups it’s something to consider if there’s space in the home to do it. Frequent handwashing and cleaning surfaces in the home can also help reduce transmission between family members.”
“We are very excited with the initial response to our baseline survey, and we’re hoping that all those individuals will continue to participate over the coming weeks in the shorter daily survey” says Keirns. “We’ll make the results available as quickly as possible, posting new results at least weekly, starting today.” Additional results from the baseline survey are expected online later this week.
“This is a really nice collaboration between UNH and Dartmouth and it’s one that reflects the community spirit that we’re seeing in many places around the state right now,” says Rees. “We’re grateful to the Survey Center for being willing to take this on with us.”
This project is supported by emergency funding from The Hitchcock Foundation, the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Dartmouth College COVID-19 "Spark" funding, and in-kind support by UNH Survey Center staff.