Aspirus begins testing for COVID-19 antibodies

Published: May. 15, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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Starting this past Monday Aspirus has been offering anti body testing to its patients who are not currently experiencing symptoms to determine if they have had a prior case of COVID-19.

"You may have been exposed to the virus and not known it. Many people are asymptomatic, or they may just get a runny nose, or a mild cough and they don't think that they have the virus. This would be a way for you to know if you've actually had the virus in the past and just didn't know it," said Christina Asiala, Director of Regional Laboratory Services in the Upper Peninsula for Aspirus.

To receive a test you must get approval from your primary care provider. Blood samples are collected at the hospital, sent to Wausau, and results are back within 24 to 48 hours.

"Any COVID testing is free, whether you have the COVID PCR test, which is the nasal swab to see if you have the active infection, or if you have the COVID antibody test, so it is no cost to any of our patients," said Asiala.

This testing will also help in tracking the virus, giving vital information on where an outbreak may have already occurred.

"It's the next step in the COVID response for Aspirus to be able to help our communities get back to normal, or the new normal. Then you can know if you've been exposed or not and if you are positive you know that somewhere it has been in our community in the past," added Asiala.

If you test positive for antibodies you are past the point of spreading the virus, however social distancing measures are still encouraged.

"Right now there are still experts debating on whether you are immune or not if you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Currently we don't know, but it does not mean that you actively have the infection, it just means that you've been exposed. You don't have the infection itself so you cannot give it to someone else," said Asiala.

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