Richmond & Henrico Health Districts seek 20-29 year olds for COVID-19 focus groups

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:54 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are searching for men and women between the ages of 20 and 29 years old to take part in a COVID-19 focus group.

Recently the city and county have seen an uptick in the number of positive coronavirus cases among that age group.

“Over the past month or so 20-29-year-olds made up 34.8% positive cases [in the city of Richmond],” said Catherine Long, a member of the Priority Communities Team with the Richmond City Health District. “That’s certainly a staggering number.”

As a result, health leaders are hoping to learn more ways to improve prevention efforts.

Your local health departments want to hear from you! There's been a rise in COVID-19 cases among 20-29 year olds and...

Posted by Henrico County Health Department on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

“So we really want to understand what people are thinking and feeling,” Long said.

Forms are currently available to sign up for the focus groups on the city and county health district websites.

Roughly 40 people will be selected, with health leaders looking for as much diversity as possible when it comes to beliefs, attitudes and behaviors among 20-29-year-olds during this pandemic.

“That’s to make sure the diversity of the focus groups reflects the diversity of our communities,” Long said.

Statewide, VDH data shows the 20-29 age range leads in the demographics for COVID cases, sitting at more than 43,000 since the state started tracking the data.

“There could be a number of reasons for this,” Long said. “Generally, younger people have fewer symptoms or symptoms less severe. So it’s possible people may not have known they were COVID positive and then spread it among their social and professional networks.”

Long also cites increased risks for exposure among young adults who work in service industries and those living in group settings.

“Also, we’re not sure how much this plays a part of it, but there could be a cultural element to where younger people feel invincible,” she added. “Younger people have been told that where people tend to not have severe symptoms, tend to not make up the death count of COVID.”

Trying to find those answers is why health leaders are holding these focus groups. There’s an incentive as well.

“In addition to helping out your community and in addition to having interesting conversations with district staff and other community members, there is also a $50 gift card for participating,” Long said.

The deadline to sign up for the two focus groups is November 29 at 11:59 p.m. The virtual focus groups are scheduled for Dec. 7 and 12.

To sign up for the virtual focus group, click here.

According to Long, there is also a survey for people outside of this age range who wish to share their COVID-19 experiences.

The goals of that study are as follows:

  • Understand the most important issues you are facing since the spread of COVID-19
  • Identify priorities for organizations in your area to better support community needs in the coming months

Peter Paul Community Action Network along with the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population, Division of Epidemiology and the Richmond City Health District have all worked together to put this survey together and will analyze the results.

To take part in the survey, click here.

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