The materials needed for drawing blood are seen on a table during a COVID-19 antibody test drive on Thursday, May 14, 2020, in the New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
LOGAN – Bear River Health Department Executive Director Lloyd Berentzen says conducting COVID-19 antibody tests of employees of the Cache and Box Elder County Sheriff’s departments will help BRHD understand the prevalence of the disease in the community.
”The big thing for us is that if we take kind of a controlled group,” Berentzen explains, “and we say ‘let’s see how many people have really been exposed, or have had exposure to COVID-19,’ we’re able to see the percentage of that and it kind of gives us an idea as to maybe how much exposure we still have left within our community to go forward with.”
Berentzen says antibodies may help to determine who has some level of immunity to COVID-19.
“There is some speculation that those that have had COVID could still get it again. I’v heard a few things like that in some areas,” Berentzen adds. “But for the most part, when we’ve had a disease we build these immunities within us. And this test simply helps us to know if we have kind of a protected portion of the population.”
This test is different from the nasal swab currently being used to diagnose a COVID-19 infection.
“An individual that tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies should not assume that they are immune to further infection,” said Mandi McBride in a statement. McBride is the nursing director for Bear River Health Department. “We don’t fully understand how COVID-19 immunity works yet. We continue to encourage all individuals to follow good public health practices and remind you to stay home if you have any COVID like symptoms.”
“We’re excited that we now have the capability to offer this antibody test,” Berentzen added. “A lot of individuals in our community would like to know if they have been exposed to COVID and have already built up antibodies. We are grateful for our first line responders at the sheriff’s offices and are happy to start this testing process with them.”
Antibody testing will be offered by appointment only. Please visit our webpage at brhd.org for the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 antibody testing, including starting dates and costs.