MOULTRIE, Ga. — Colquitt Regional Medical Center is currently offering testing for the SARS-CoV-2 Antibody.
This test is used to detect the presence of antibodies – proteins made by plasma cells – against COVID-19. The body uses antibodies to fight off pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
A positive antibody test is presumed to mean a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19, at some point in the past, according to the CDC. It does not mean they are currently infected. Tests also do not indicate whether someone has the potential to spread COVID-19, nor do they indicate whether the person is protected from getting the virus again.
“This test will be instrumental in helping us identify those who had COVID-19, but didn’t necessarily develop any symptoms,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “While some will test positive for the presence of antibodies, it is important to remember that this does not guarantee immunity from the virus. People should continue to wear a mask, wash their hands, and watch their distance no matter what their test results are.”
Patients may request the antibody test from their physician, who will then place an order with the laboratory at Colquitt Regional. Once the order has been placed, patients will then have their blood drawn in the lab and results will appear via Colquitt Regional’s online Patient Portal within 24 hours from the time of test, the hospital said in a press release.
Tests are available for all ages and will be conducted twice weekly. A physician’s order is required to get the test.
“We are strongly encouraging anyone who had the virus and those who have known exposure to get the antibody test,” said Colquitt Regional Pathologist Dr. Cory Porteus. “As we continue to gather as much information as we can on COVID-19, the antibody test will help us learn more about immunity and who in our community has been infected.”
The cost of the test is $130 and is covered by most insurances.
Donating convalescent plasma is an option for those who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of the blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection.
The plasma, which contains antibodies, is being used as a treatment to some patients who have severe cases of COVID-19. While the use of convalescent plasma is still in the experimental phase, there is anecdotal evidence that it might be an effective treatment for some patients, the hospital press release said.
If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in donating plasma, Colquitt Regional refers patients to OneBlood, a blood bank, in Tallahassee. For more information about donating blood or plasma, please contact OneBlood at 850-877-7181.
Colquitt Regional is continuing to offer COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a physician’s order is required. The Colquitt County Health Department is offering free testing and does not require a physician’s order or appointment.