BOISE, Idaho — A study has shown that roughly 23% of Blaine County’s adult population has coronavirus antibodies, according to a news release from the city of Ketchum.

Preliminary results from the antibody study — conducted by The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York — showed that antibodies were most prevalent in Ketchum, where roughly 35% of the city’s adults have virus antibodies, one of the highest per-capita rates of any city in the country.

More than 2,500 residents completed a survey for the study, and tests were administered to 917 of those selected.

The test results showed the large prevalence of antibodies, and the city’s news release indicated that the specificity of the test is 99.9%, meaning that only one in 1,000 could be a false positive.

Some participants noted that they did not develop antibodies even though “they live in the same household as persons with the disease and did not practice social distancing,” according to the news release.

“I am grateful to all those that signed up for this study,” said Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw in the news release. “Our valley is certainly doing its part to help further the understanding of the coronavirus. There is no doubt that COVID-19 hit us hard. Our recovery is testament to the health and safe practices of our community.”

The antibody research is still being conducted, and researchers indicated that roughly 60% of a population might need immunity to reach the threshold of herd immunity.

Ketchum and Blaine County were some of the hardest-hit areas when the virus first spread in Idaho. At one point the county had one of the highest per-capita infection rates of any place in the United States.


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