STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – With testing for active coronavirus becoming more readily available, there’s a new push for antibody testing as well.
The Wayne State Physician’s Group, ACCESS and Ford have a mobile unit, where they can do a quick blood draw have results back in a few days. Cities, organizations and employers can request the team to visit; Wednesday they were in Sterling Heights testing essential workers.
“What this testing will do is give us a better sense of how many people have been infected by the virus,” said Sterling Heights mayor Michael Taylor. “I think public officials with that information will be able to better determine and forecast how long this could last and what the spread of this virus really is.”
“This is baby steps,” added Sterling Heights police chief Dale Dwojakowski. “This is to say, ‘Hey, someone in my family might have had it, I know that cough I had a month ago, now I know for sure I had coronavirus.”
The challenge though, is that while it might be good to know if you’ve had coronavirus and recovered, having the antibodies doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune from catching the virus again. Researchers say it’ll take more time and testing to understand the immunology.
“This isn’t something that will give the ability to be the canary in the coalmine and say you can go anywhere without PPE,” said fire chief Chris Martin. “But, there’s a little peace of mind knowing, ‘Was I infected by it?’”
Just as important is that snapshot of data, which can also help determine how and when to reopen businesses.
“I think that’s going to be helpful for public health officials to determine whether you can open back up right away, whether you have to open up over time and what precautions you have to take in the office place,” said Taylor.
Chief Martin is also hoping the information can help further down the road.
“Maybe there’s an ability to donate blood and plasma to help other people if we were exposed to it,” he said.
Again, this testing is being done and paid for by the Wayne State Physicians Group, ACCESS and Ford.