University Hospitals to start testing frontline workers antibodies for COVID-19

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 23:26:18-04

CLEVELAND — University Hospitals will begin testing frontline workers to see if they have any SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in their antibodies.

“Our commitment to the health and safety of our caregivers, including our EMS and public safety community, has been unwavering,” said Dr. Eric Beck, chief operating officer at University Hospitals. “Offering this antibody testing to this at-risk population is another way we can help keep them informed and empowered to continue to care for our community.”

UH will test frontline caregivers, employees and first-responder volunteers from the following categories:
· Had no symptoms of COVID-19 and weren’t tested for the disease.
· Had symptoms of COVID-19 and weren’t tested for the disease.
· Tested negative for COVID-19
· Tested positive for COVID-19.

The test will determine their antibody status.

“Will provide knowledge of the breadth of undiagnosed disease in Northeast Ohio and specifically in our frontline critical workforce who has been so dedicated to caring for patients at UH and in the community,” said Dr. Christine Schmotzer, chief of the Division of Clinical Pathology at University Hospitals. “This is valuable information as our state returns healthcare and business operations to normal.”

The information gained from the test will help determine how many essential employees have been infected.

The presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies means that a person was infected with COVID-19 at some point in the past, whereas the current testing that has been conducted up to this point sees if a person is currently infected with the virus at that time.

Currently, it’s not known if the presence of antibodies means a person is immune to COVID-19 or if a person can’t get re-infected with COVID-19 within the same season.

If a person tests negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, it doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t been infected with COVID-19, because some peoples’ bodies don’t amount enough of an immune response to be detected.

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