Yesterday, people from all over Lehi flocked to the city center to have their blood tested for COVID-19 antibodies. From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., a steady stream of people waited in their cars for a turn to have their fingers pricked to know if they unknowingly have contracted the coronavirus. Every available time spot for the test was filled and the process of taking the test was conducted in a busy, but orderly fashion in the parking lot southeast of City Hall.
Many city employees participated in the testing and Lehi City Mayor Mark Johnson was enthusiastic about the response. “The CARES act afforded us the opportunity to have our employees tested, particularly those who interface with the public. The information will be useful in determining how to prepare as we move into the “green” category,” said Johnson.
Because of the positive response to the testing, Lehi City is working to determine if another day is possible. “These antibody tests have been very popular with the public, so the city has been discussing the opportunity of scheduling another day of testing,” added Johnson.
It takes seven to 10 days for COVID-19 antibodies to show up in the blood of someone who has contracted the virus. Patients are encouraged to wait two weeks after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 before taking an antibody test to avoid a false negative. The antibody blood test from Rapid Screen Solutions was $79.99, and in many cases was not covered by insurance. Testing was sold out in all locations across Utah and Salt Lake counties. More screenings may follow based on the demand although dates have not been announced.
Knowing if you have contracted COVID-19 can give you some power. Researchers from the CDC have reported that anywhere from 25% to 80% of those who have contracted the coronavirus do not show symptoms. This is a dangerous trait of COVID-19 because it does not alert the victims of its presence, leading them to believe they can go to work, and move about in public, without the risk of infecting others. Unknown carriers can increase the spread of a virus rapidly.
Antibody tests will inform asymptomatic patients of their status with the virus. Human donations of antibodies are also in high demand among vaccine researchers, who are studying the makeup of human biology post-virus to see how the body responds after the immune system has recovered.