Background: The true prevalence of COVID-19 is difficult to estimate due to the absence of random population-based testing. To estimate current and past COVID-19 infection prevalence in a large urban area, we conducted a population-based survey in St. Louis County, Missouri. Methods: The population-based survey of active infection (PCR) and seroprevalence (IgG antibodies) of adults (≥18 years) was conducted through random-digit dialing and targeted sampling of St. Louis County residents with oversampling of Black residents. Infection prevalence of residents was estimated using design-based and raking weighting. Results: Between August 17 and October 24, 2020, 1245 residents completed a survey and underwent PCR testing; 1073 residents completed a survey and underwent PCR and IgG testing or self-reported results. Weighted prevalence estimates of residents with active infection were 1.9% (95% CI, 0.4%–3.3%) and 5.6% were ever infected (95% CI, 3.3%–8.0%). Overall infection hospitalization and fatality ratios were 4.9% and 1.4%, respectively. Conclusions: Through October 2020, the percentage of residents that had ever been infected was relatively low. A markedly higher percentage of Black and other minorities compared to White residents were infected with COVID-19. The St. Louis region remained highly vulnerable to widespread infection in late 2020.
- Probability survey