SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - A Mercy Hospital Doctor said more than 40% of the general population could have had COVID-19 without knowing it. That's why he feels antibody testing is important.
The 13th positive case of COVID-19 has been reported out of Mercer County. Health officials made the announcement Tuesday and said it's a man between the ages of 40 and 60. (MGN Image)
Starting this week, there are two main tests available through Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care. The diagnostic test and the antibody test.
The COVID-19 diagnostic test involves a nasal swab to confirm whether or not a person has an active coronavirus infection. The antibody test done through a blood sample to see whether or not a person had COVID-19 in the past. If someone feels sick, they will need to wait at least two weeks to get the antibody test, allowing enough time for antibodies to show up in a person's system.
The Associate Medical Director with Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care, Jaime Zengotita, talked about what the antibody testing will show.
"Testing for the antibodies will help us as a community to know actually how many people in the community had it," said Zengotita. "That's important for our healthcare workers, it's important for those who are taking care of the vulnerable, the nursing homes, those who are working in close contact with public."
Zengotita also said it's important because it will help medical professionals learn about the virus. As an example, he said right now there is not enough evidence that suggests a person could not get diagnosed with COVID-19 twice. He said that's why it's important people continue to social distance and follow CDC guidelines.
Before a diagnostic or antibody test is performed, a patient first is required to go through a video visit with Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care.
For those who do not have insurance, Zengotita said the COVID-19 diagnostic test costs $225 while the antibody test costs $190.
Currently, there are other pilot programs being tested around the state. In St. Louis, Mercy teams are offering on-site COVID-19 testing at nursing homes and senior living facilities. Zengotita said there is a possibility similar programs could expand to the Ozarks.