Tri-State testing site can tell you if you’ve already had COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 11:44 PM EDT
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MARIEMONT, Ohio (FOX19) - A Mariemont doctor’s office is offering drive-up testing that can show you if you’ve previously had COVID-19.

Lisa Larkin, MD, says her staff has been testing 60-70 patients per day since last week. A total of 16 have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

The test has been submitted to the FDA for approval, but has not yet been approved, Larkin says.

It’s performed by a simple finger-stick blood test and yields same-day results.

According to Larkin, It’s not the same as the nasal-swab test used by hospitals to determine if someone currently has COVID-19.

“The anti-body testing is completely different and it’s not used in the same circumstance,” Larkin said Monday. “The antibody testing is to look for the body’s response to the infection of the virus.”

According to Dr. Larkin, the test is not for making diagnostic decisions. For example, she says, if you’re sick, this is not a test that would be used to decide if you should be put in the hospital.

“So these people who were not sick enough to be in the hospital, didn’t have access to a test and did not get testing,” said Larkin. “So now they can have the anti-body testing to determine if they did have the virus.”

In the future, the antibody test may be used to help determine, along with other data, that a patient is no longer susceptible to the infection and can return to work, according to the FDA.

If you test positive for the IGG antibody, Dr. Larkin believes you had the infection but your body has now developed the antibodies that could protect you from the virus in the future.

“This is a test, again, that is part of the picture of testing that we are going to use to move forward,” said the internist. “It’s not perfect, and by itself it’s not the end-all be-all test, but again, it’s been helpful data for patients.”

Who should consider the COVID-19 antibody test? The doctor says:

  • Healthcare workers and those who live with healthcare workers
  • Other individuals on the front lines including police, fire, EMT and other individuals likely to be exposed
  • If you are currently sick and have not been tested. The rapid test may show if your body is producing the specific antibodies that develop quickly after exposure to COVID-19. However, a negative test does not mean you don’t currently have the coronavirus. It could mean that you have not been infected long enough for your body to begin producing antibodies.
  • Anyone over the age of 16 who wants to know if they have had COVID-19 already.

Larkin says of the 400 people they’ve tested, they’ve had 16 positives for COVID-19.

Testing will resume Tuesday at 10 a.m.

You must call the office at 513-760-5511 to schedule an appointment and have paid in full via credit card before coming to the testing site.

Dr. Larkin says private insurance does not cover the cost of the test, so it will be $50 if you are already a patient and $75 if you are not.

If you have made an appointment:

  • Only come during your allotted testing hour
  • Wear a mask. You can also wear a scarf
  • Bring your own pen for signing documents
  • Drive behind the office to back parking lot
  • Remain in your car

Larkin says you will be emailed with your test results in about 30 minutes.

She has also posted many videos, where she answers questions about COVID-19, on her website and on her Facebook page.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton suggests that employers review this information before buying or using COVID-19 antibody test kits:

  • In the early days of an infection when the body’s immune response is still building, antibodies may not be detected. As such, antibody testing is one piece to the puzzle to determine whether employees can return to work. Antibody test results are not the sole answer.
  • Some firms developing the tests are falsely claiming that their serological tests are approved by the FDA or falsely claiming that they can diagnose COVID-19.
  • All employers looking to use the tests should ensure that they are buying only antibody tests approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Without the FDA’s EUA approval, there is no way to know if the test kits are valid. Testing companies that are EUA-approved are listed on the FDA website, which is updated daily.
  • Testing companies should obtain an FDA letter of authorization on their antibody test kit. These letters are proof that tests have been approved. They are posted on the FDA website.
  • Many testing companies are in the queue at FDA for approval. Once approved, this will help expand availability.

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