Monument Health offering COVID-19 antibody testing
Monument Health launched a new type of COVID-19 test that allows anyone to find out if they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Monday, Monument Health launched a new type of COVID-19 test that allows anyone to find out if they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
The blood test is used only to detect antibodies associated with the virus, not to diagnose an active infection.
The only requirement is that the blood must be drawn 10 days or more after the onset of symptoms or known exposure to the virus- as it takes 10 days for the antibody to show up in the bloodstream.
Antibody testing is important because as many as 20 percent of people who have been infected, don’t experience symptoms.
Michelle Stephens, VP of Operations, Monument Health Rapid City, says, “We would never want anyone to use this test to identify an active infection, that still require the molecular or PCR COVID-19 test, with is the nasal pharyngeal swab. This test is a blood draw and it basically gives us information about whether or not we were exposed to the virus, whether or not you are asymptomatic, we can still see in your blood by the antibodies you produce.”
The test requires a small blood sample, which can be drawn at any of the five Monument Health drive-thru testing sites.
Stephens goes on to say, “Mayo Clinic is utilizing the antibody test for help with the development of the vaccine – definitely using a lot of this research and data to help with that, to help development as well as tracking the disease, so those are the other values of the antibody test.”
Mayo Clinic Laboratories can usually have results in three to five days. The cost of the test is $100.
“A lot of people are very concerned – testing has definitely been a barrier in the United States and we know that. We don’t have enough to test everyone so it will be interesting to see once we start doing the blood draw and the antibody tests to see how those results turn out,” Stephens says.
Anyone who is interested in the antibody test should call the nurse triage line at 755-1350 or 800-279-1466.
Even with a negative test, Monument Health emphasizes people to keep social distance and practice good hand hygiene.