October 16, 2023

The Minority and Rural Coronavirus Insights Study: Design and Baseline Characteristics of a Minority Cohort


The Minority and Rural Coronavirus Insights Study (MRCIS) is an ongoing prospective cohort study examining health disparities associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among medically underserved populations. This report describes procedures implemented to establish the MRCIS cohort and examines the factors associated with the molecular and serological assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infection status at participant enrollment. Participants were recruited from 5 geographically dispersed federally qualified health centers between November 2020 and April 2021. At baseline, participants completed a detailed demographic survey and biological samples were collected for testing. SARS-CoV-2 infection status was determined based on the combined molecular and serological test results. Chi-squared and logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between sociodemographic factors, COVID-19 safety measures, existing comorbidities, and SARS-CoV-2 infection status. The final cohort included 3238 participants. The mean age of participants was 50.2 ± 15.8 years. Most participants identified as female (60.0%), heterosexual or straight (93.0%), White (47.6%), and Hispanic or Latino (49.1%). Approximately 26.1% of participants had at least one positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. The main effect model included age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Compared with adults ≥65 years, participants in all other age groups had ∼2 times increased odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. In addition, racial/ethnic minorities had ∼2 times increased odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 infection status compared with non-Hispanic Whites. A unique cohort of a traditionally medically underserved minority population was established. Significant racial and ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2 infection status at baseline were discovered.