Hegg Health Center is now offering antibody testing for COVID-19, a direct-to-consumer blood test. These antibody tests – also known as IgG or serology tests — may detect whether someone has been exposed to COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins in the blood that the body’s immune system uses to fight viruses and bacteria.
It’s important to note that the antibody test is not a test for active COVID-19 infection. That test is called the COVID-19 diagnostic test and is done via a nasal swab. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, an antibody test is not the appropriate test to see if you have the virus.
Antibodies show up in the blood of someone who has already recovered from COVID-19, or in someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past but never developed symptoms.
Testing for antibodies is new and its usefulness is still being evaluated. It is unknown as to whether having antibodies means that a person is immune to COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says antibody tests are most useful in watching the spread of COVID-19, as these tests can show how many people in a given group or area might have been infected. The CDC does not recommend that antibody tests be used in making health care decisions.
Direct-to-consumer COVID-19 antibody tests are not covered by health insurance, and Hegg Health Center will not send in claims for these tests. However, these tests may be reimbursable through flexible spending accounts (FSA) or health savings accounts (HSA). The $80 fee for the test is payable at the time of the test.
To receive the test, just walk in to Hegg Health Center – no appointment is necessary. Tests will be done Monday – Friday, 8am – 11am. Please do not visit if you are currently ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms include fever over 100 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea or vomiting, loss of sense of taste or smell, and sore throat.
The antibody test involves a quick blood draw performed by a trained professional. Results take up to 24 hours to appear in the patient’s AveraChart electronic medical record, and also will be mailed out within a few days.
There are three possible results:
- Reactive (positive): suggests but does not confirm the person might have been exposed to COVID-19 and has developed an immune response.
- Equivocal: test shows a small amount of antibodies, but not enough for a “reactive” result.
- Non-reactive (negative): test shows no exposure.
Regardless of results, we advise people to continue to protect themselves and others. Wear a mask when out in public, maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public, avoid crowds, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands often.