This post will be updated today, Friday, April 10, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.
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Pinprick Blood Tests Find Undetected COVID-19; State Death Toll Near 400
Friday, April 10, updated at 7:30 a.m.
Health researchers from the University of Miami and Miami-Dade County officials have started to randomly test residents for COVID-19 antibodies using a pinprick blood sample. The tests will give scientists an idea of how many people have been infected unknowingly, which could help provide a timeline for easing lockdowns.
The effectiveness of this effort is unknown. Antibody levels in blood aren’t always accurate, making the tests quite faulty.
“We’re learning how to fly while we’re building the plane,” Erin Kobetz, a University of Miami professor leading the project, told the Miami Herald.
This research project comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida continues to rise. Thursday was Miami-Dade County’s deadliest day, with 16 new deaths related to the virus. It was also the biggest jump in deaths for Florida, with 48 new deaths, totaling to 371 deaths statewide since the outbreak began.
Thursday also came with 1,128 more confirmed cases, bringing the state’s total number to 16,826.
The Miami Herald reports that the random pinprick blood tests have already begun in Coral Gables, Miami Beach, North Dade, Kendall, Miami Lakes, Aventura and Miami Springs.
The data collected will go to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to add to their models for the pandemic’s peak, which are closely watched by local and federal officials. The new information from Miami-Dade could also help reserachers to better estimate hospital surges and when to start lifting social distancing guidelines.