Skip to main content

MDH begins house-to-house COVID-19 survey across Minnesota

Households will be selected at random and participation will be voluntary.

The Minnesota Department of Health is hoping to get a better idea of COVID-19's prevalence in Minnesota through a statewide survey that includes free testing for the virus. 

MDH began conducting a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey on Sept. 14 and will continue it through Sept. 30. 

“Through the CASPER survey, we hope to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading in Minnesota and how it is affecting people,” Dr. Ruth Lynfield, MDH state epidemiologist said in a news release. “With a new virus, we have to learn as we go and adapt our response based on new data.

"Information we gather in this survey will allow us to refine our recommendations to best meet the needs of our Minnesota communities in the prevention of COVID-19,” Lynfield added.

The survey, which is voluntary, includes a household questionnaire and free virus and antibody testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. 

There are five main goals of this survey. They are:

  • To understand how COVID-19 has spread
  • To understand what causes COVID-19 to spread in certain areas
  • To explore how COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ in different parts of Minnesota.
  • To identify the percentage of people infected with COVID-19 but have no symptoms
  • To improve health messaging and help stop COVID-19's spread

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

What to expect

Teams of health professionals who will be wearing facemasks, vests and badges identifying them as the MDH COVID-19 Survey Team will visit randomly selected homes in 180 preselected areas, based on census blocks, around the state.

They'll ask if the household wants to participate in the survey. If they agree, one member of the household will fill out a questionnaire and everyone who lives there, if they consent, can get tested to see if they currently have the virus (a swab test) and/or for antibodies to see if they already had the virus (a finger stick). 

“We encourage people to participate in the survey if their household is selected. Along with being able to receive free, in-home testing for current and past COVID-19 infection, this is a unique opportunity for people to help us learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 and aid in our efforts to fight this pandemic,” said Lynfield.

Each household's survey and test results are kept private, and if anyone tests positive on either test they'll be notified by a nurse, who will provide more information. 

This CASPER survey was developed by the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as an evidence-based tool to assess community needs. It's been used in other public health emergencies, including the Zika virus outbreak and after hurricanes and oil spills. 

Minnesota is among several other states that are also doing COVID-19 CASPER surveys. The state is paying for the survey with COVID Relief Funds MDH received to conduct the CASPER survey and other studies. 

Next Up

Willmar Police Department

Police: Suspect arrested in Willmar after firing gun at officer

The incident led to a manhunt that lasted into early Sunday morning.

Monti Ossenfort

Vikings lead off general manager interviews with Monti Ossenfort

Several candidates will interview for the job this week.

Payton Willis

Gophers' rally comes up short, lose to Iowa

The Gophers came back from a 23-point deficit but couldn't complete the comeback.


Firefighters respond to smoke-filled cabin to find man asleep inside

A wood stove was determined to be the cause of the smoke.

snow plow msp airport

MSP snowplow drivers reach contract agreement after threatening strike

Teamsters Local 320 reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday.

Kellen Moore

What you should know about the Vikings' head coach candidates

Seven candidates were revealed on Saturday morning.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_1119 (2)

What is the next Minnesota Vikings GM inheriting?

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' roster and situation


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.


coronavirus, covid-2, doctor, masks

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Sunday, July 19

More than 40,000 people in Minnesota no longer need to be in isolation after contracting the virus.

social gathering

COVID-19: How will Minnesota's ban on social gatherings be enforced?

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced social gatherings of all kinds with people outside your household are prohibited for the next four weeks.

coronavirus, covid-2, doctor, masks

Health officials: Get a COVID-19 test if you went to bars in Rochester

This is especially the case for those who went to bars where people weren't wearing masks or staying 6 feet away from each other.

thanksgiving turkey

COVID-19: MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving during a pandemic

MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving this year asks people to avoid large gatherings and instead celebrate in small groups or with family.


MDH changes advice, says Minnesotans should skip Thanksgiving gatherings

"As tempting as it is to stick with our cherished traditions this year, we really need people to reconsider and frankly not gather with other households."