MainStreet Family Care and KidsStreet Urgent Care are now offering coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody tests.
A Tuesday release outlined that the available antibody test is performed by drawing a blood sample from the patient and sending it to the lab to be processed.
Any patient interested in being tested for COVID-19 can walk into a MainStreet or KidsStreet clinic at any time to be tested. Further, employers wishing to arrange testing for their employees, either in a clinic or onsite at their place of business, can contact MainStreet’s sales team to do so.
Additionally, MainStreet Family Care and KidsStreet Urgent Care are also offering the viral infection “swab” test that determines if a patient currently has COVID-19.
The blood antibody test can tell if a patient has been infected and recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Testing positive for these antibodies shows if the patient has already had the coronavirus and may be potentially immune. However, until experts know more on whether or not a patient can become infected more than once, the antibody test cannot conclusively determine if a person is immune to the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, elected officials and health experts agree that both increased viral and antibody testing will help provide the data needed to make critical decisions around reopening the state.
As employers take the next steps towards reopening, MainStreet Family Care wants to help them get a clear picture of those currently infected and those that have been previously infected in their workforce. These tests can give employees some assurance about reporting for work, especially if they have already developed the antibodies for the virus.
“Antibodies for the COVID-19 develop 1-2 weeks after becoming infected. However, it is possible to still be actively infected and contagious for a week or more after developing the antibodies,” explained MainStreet’s chief medical officer, Dr. Timbo Taylor, in a statement. “A positive antibody test paired with a negative virus infection test will help conclude if a patient has already had the virus and is no longer actively contagious.”
Headquartered in Birmingham, MainStreet Family Care serves predominantly rural communities in the Yellowhammer State, including Alexander City, Andalusia, Arab, Brewton, Centre, Eufaula, Millbrook, Monroeville, Moody, Oneonta, Pelham, Selma, Sylacauga, Talladega and Valley. In addition to a full range of urgent care services, MainStreet Family Care also delivers a variety of preventative, wellness and occupational health services.
Adding the antibody test to its arsenal continues to put MainStreet Family Care on the rural frontlines for testing. As one of the first rural urgent and primary care companies to offer coronavirus testing in rural Alabama, MainStreet estimates that is has identified around 4% of the state’s positive coronavirus cases. The company advised that roughly 8%-9% of patients tested for COVID-19 in one of its 16 statewide locations have tested positive.
“We have always known that our rural communities deserve access to the same quality care as big cities. That’s the entire foundation of our company, and it’s no different when it comes to this pandemic,” stated MainStreet’s CEO, Sam Eskildsen. “The majority of the state’s testing has been conducted in urban areas, but if we want things to get back to normal, we’ve got to expand testing to the furthest reaches of the state.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn