Published 10:06 am Thursday, April 30, 2020

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MainStreet Family Care and KidsStreet Urgent Care are now offering the COVID-19 antibody blood test. The antibody test can tell you if you have already had COVID-19. Governors and health experts agree that increased viral and antibody testing will help provide the data needed to make critical decisions around re-opening the state. In addition, health experts are learning that the virus was spreading in communities even before the first documented cases, leaving many to wonder if they have already had the coronavirus.

As employers take the next steps towards re-opening, MainStreet Family Care is offering both viral and antibody COVID-19 testing to employers to help get a clear picture of those infected and those that have been infected in their work force. These tests can give employees some assurance about reporting for work, especially if they have already developed the antibodies for the virus.

“Antibodies for the COVID-19 develop 1-2 weeks after becoming infected. However, it is possible to still be actively infected and contagious for a week or more after developing the antibodies,” explained MainStreet’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Timbo Taylor.  “A positive antibody test paired with a negative virus infection test will help conclude if a patient has already had the virus and is no longer actively contagious.”

The COVID-19 antibody test is performed by drawing a blood sample from the patient and sending it to the lab to be processed. Any patient interested in being tested for COVID-19 can walk into a MainStreet or KidsStreet clinic at any time to be tested.  Employers wishing to arrange testing for their employees, either in our clinic or onsite at their place of business should contact the sales team.

Adding the antibody test continues to put MainStreet Family Care on the rural frontlines for testing. As one of the first rural urgent and primary care companies to offer coronavirus testing in rural Alabama, MainStreet estimates that is has identified around 4% of the state’s positive COVID-19 cases. Roughly 8%-9% of patients tested for COVID-19 in one of the 16 statewide locations have tested positive.

“We have always known that our rural communities deserve access to the same quality care as big cities. That’s the entire foundation of our company, and it’s no different when it comes to this pandemic,” state MainStreet’s CEO, Sam Eskildsen. “The majority of the state’s testing has been conducted in urban areas, but if we want things to get back to normal, we’ve got to expand testing to the furthest reaches of the state.”

There are two tests available.  The first is the viral infection ‘swab’ test that tells us if a patient currently has COVID-19.  The second is the blood antibody test that tells us if a patient has been infected and recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Testing positive for these antibodies tells us if the patient has already had the coronavirus, and maybe potentially immune. However, until experts know more on whether or not a patient can become infected more than once, the antibody test cannot conclusively determine if a person is immune to the coronavirus.