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More people in Jefferson County have been infected with COVID-19 than initially thought, UofL study says

After testing 2,237 people at random, new data from the University of Louisville's Co-Immunity Project says in Jefferson County, the discrepancy is clear.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We've heard that there could be a discrepancy between positive COVID-19 cases and those who actually had the virus.

 After testing 2,237 people at random, new data from the University of Louisville's Co-Immunity Project says in Jefferson County, the discrepancy is clear.

"We have people in our community who don't feel the disease, who don't get tested and are walking around spreading it and that makes it very hard to contain," Aruni Bhatnagar who is the Director of the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville (UofL) says. 

What Bhatnagar found is that more people than initially thought tested positive for COVID-19 in Jefferson County, which is Kentucky's largest county. 

"We found that up to four percent have been infected by the virus. That's very different from the people we have been able to detect so far. That's four to five times higher than the number of people we reported," Bhatnagar says.

It comes down to access to testing and the fact that some people don't show symptoms. 

"We need to make the case to the city and the state to have much wider testing," Bhatnagar says.

It's also laying out a blueprint of what areas are getting hit the hardest. For instance, the West End has seen higher cases. 

Bhatnagar says that while it is known that minorities get sicker with the virus, until their study, data wasn't there to show if the spread was also higher. 

"Our study shows very clearly that yes, there is greater transmission for the Black and Hispanic community," he says.

The testing won't stop, they're starting another round in September to gather more data. The hope is to understand why certain areas are seeing more cases and determining the actual risk of mortality, which is still an unknown.

More stories on WHAS11 News

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