April 29, 2020 By Allie Griffin
More than 150,000 healthcare workers and first responders will soon be able to undergo COVID-19 antibody testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The city is partnering with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC to offer antibody testing at hospitals, firehouses, police stations and corrections facilities.
The city plans to begin testing by next week and aims to have tested all these workers within one month. The test is voluntary and free.
The mayor emphasized that a positive antibody test doesn’t mean a person cannot contract the coronavirus again. However, it does identify likely past infections.
“It’s not a perfect test, but it does give real information. It is helpful,” de Blasio said. “It tells you something very important and it’s part of solving this bigger puzzle of the coronavirus and fighting it back.”
The antibody tests will give healthcare workers and first responders “additional confidence to know if they’ve been previously exposed,” he said.
“They give you some real confidence because — here’s what we can say, anyone who has been infected and came through obviously had the ability to beat this disease,” de Blasio said. “Knowing if you’ve been exposed to it is powerful information.”
The mayor said that the antibody testing could also identify more people who can donate their plasma for potentially life-saving treatments for COVID-19 patients.
The testing will also provide additional information on the virus that can help doctors and scientists learn more about it.
“One day there will be a vaccine, one day there will be a cure, but the more information we gather, the more likelihood we get to that day sooner,” de Blasio said.