Antibody testing offers answers for some

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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As Alabama and the nation transition to reopening businesses and the economy, COVID-19 antibody testing is increasingly in demand.

“We are starting to gear up for it,” said Mallory Quincey, CRNP at Pike Internal Medicine. “We’ve had several people calling about it. Some people who want to go back to work are going to need that clearance.”

The blood tests can identify if an individual has antibodies produced by COVID-19, meaning they either have an asymptomatic case of the virus or have previously contracted the virus and developed the antibodies against it.

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“It’s not a guarantee that you won’t get the virus again, but everyone hopes it will give you some immunity,” Quincey said.

More important, because supplies are not as limited, the tests are more easily accessible for people.

“We’re advising anyone who had symptoms similar to coronavirus even back in December and January to get the antibody test,” Quincey said. “If you were sick and you think you may have had it, get the test to find out.”

The antibody test results are usually available within 24 or 48 hours and tests are usually covered by most major insurances.

Testing for active cases of COVID-19 continues to be readily available throughout the county. Pike Internal Medicine, Troy Regional Medical Center, South Alabama Rural Health Associates, Charles Henderson Child Health Center, Ivy Creek Family Medicine and Troy Family Medicine all offer the testing, with many facilities providing “drive-up” testing options so individuals do not have to leave their vehicles. Tests are most often conducted after a brief screening to determine the extent of active symptoms, so medical providers recommend calling the office ahead of time.

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be offered today by the Pike County Health Department to patients who meet the testing criteria and while testing supplies last. Testing will be provided to those who have been referred by a physician. People who have symptoms but do not have a primary care provider can still be tested using the orders of an assigned physician that is provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The clinic will be held at the Troy University Soccer Complex, 326 Veterans Memorial Drive, Troy,   Ala. 36082 on Thursday, April 30, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

To be tested, individuals must be age 10 or order and meet these criteria:
The patient is symptomatic with at a minimum (measured or subjective)

· Fever OR cough OR shortness of breath, AND
· Immunocompromised or have co-morbidities, or
· Age 65 years or older, or
· Healthcare worker, or
· Associated with a long-term healthcare facility, or
· Symptoms are moderate, severe, or worsening. .As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pike County, along with 583 total tests. Statewide, the ADPH reported more than 6,840 cases with 251 deaths and nearly 80,450 tests conducted.