Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) will begin offering serological, or antibody, testing for COVID-19. This is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. It can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus, rather than detecting the virus itself.
Mesa County Public Health plans to use the tests for epidemiological purposes, broadening our understanding of the timeline and impacts of COVID-19 in our community. “Our case counts have remained low, leaving many to believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 even earlier than when the first case in Mesa County was detected,” Jeff Kuhr Executive Director, Mesa County Public Health, said. “These tests will help us put together a more complete picture of the virus in our local community, and could provide valuable information to help us plan should another wave of illness hit in the months ahead.”
It is important to note, as we learn more about this novel coronavirus, these types of tests should be used for research, not diagnostic purposes. That means regardless of the result you get, you should continue to take preventive measures. Much is still unknown about how long immunity may last following COVID-19, so we caution patients to not use this test, or the results they may get, as a false sense of security.
Only certain types of antibody tests are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test MCPH is using is approved under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and results are available within a few days.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are distributing rapid test kits to detect antibodies, these tests have not been evaluated or approved for this type of use. Additionally, antibody tests may cross-react with other respiratory viruses resulting in false-positive results.
Mesa County Public Health will do blood draws by appointment. Call the MCPH COVID-19 hotline at 970-683-2300 for pricing and scheduling information.