Antibody testing available at MainStreet
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2020
MainStreet Family Care in Brewton is now offering the COVID-19 antibody blood test. So far at our clinic in Brewton, we’ve tested 52 people for antibodies and 80 people for the virus. Statewide we’ve tested over 1,100 people in the past week for COVID-19 antibodies, and we’ve testing over 2,400 people for the virus,” said Betsy Stewart, chief sales and marketing officer.
The antibody test can tell if a patient has already had COVID-19 and no one is excluded form the test.
“Anyone is eligible for the antibody testing. There are no criteria or prerequisites to be tested. We are waiving copays at this time, so it should not cost the insured patient anything to be tested,” shared Stewart.
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.
“Congress has directed insurance companies to cover coronavirus related testing and treatment. While we expect insurance companies to comply, who knows what insurance companies will decide to do. For patients without insurance, there is a $60 office visit charge for the visit at MainStreet, and then LabCorp will bill the patient separately for the test itself, which is $100,” said Stewart.
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 within the 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 the MainStreet clinic at any time to be tested. Employers wishing to arrange testing for their employees, either in the clinic or onsite, should contact the sales team.
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.”