Antibody testing available in Albany for grocery store employees, pharmacists

Jill Konopka
Updated: May 29, 2020 02:55 PM
Created: May 28, 2020 06:24 PM

ALBANY -- Accurate antibody testing can help 'pin down' the exact rate of the spread of coronavirus.

It's a priority for New York State health officials, who offered another round of testing for grocery store employees, pharmacists and other front line workers.


Debbie Kelley has worked more than 30 years at the Latham Farms Hannaford.

"We biked here to have our test done. I haven’t had any symptoms. I think mine is going to be fine. I think I’m going to be fine. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t,” said Kelley.

It's a day off from Hannaford.

Manager Debbie Kelley is taking advantage of the free anti-body testing at the University at Albany's SEFCU Arena. 

The public health lab for the NYS Department of Health is the Wadsworth Center. 

Scientists and researchers there have developed an antibody test for the virus that causes COVID-19. 

This blood test is collected using a dried blood spot card during a simple finger prick. Once each dries, they are sent to Wadsworth Center to be tested.

Assemblyman John McDonald, a pharmacist, also stopped by before session along with other essential employees including recent Albany College of Pharmacy graduate Stephen Chamberlin, who will be starting his new job at the end of June.

“Not mandated, but recommended.  They give you clear instructions, sanitize your hands. Take your blood and say you'll get results in seven to ten days."

All, invited by New York's Dept. Of Health for a painless blood prick antibody test developed at the Wadsworth Center in Albany.

Johanne Morne is with the NYS DOH and stated, “Certainly help to inform as it relates to rate of infection and our understanding of COVID-19 in general, we are collecting the information.  Whether or not they may have been infected with COVID at one point. The Antibody testing allows individual to know whether or not they have in the past or currently are infected with COVID as it relates to all the protective steps we can take as a cause of prevention.”  Regardless of the outcome of the antibody testing, Morne added, “It's really important to understand the rules of engagement don't change, we still need to prioritize wearing our masks, we still need to engage in social distancing, and all precautions to test ourselves and others."

But the CDC is warning a clearer picture is still needed for antibody testing and coronavirus policy.

NewsChannel13 spoke with Assemblyman John McDonald, a pharmacist, who stopped by to get tested before session Thursday morning, "knowledge is helpful and from the state's perspective having information. Not know what you had gotten, and is very helpful in helping guiding future public policy.” 

Adding, “The antibody test could actually help us identify those people providing the antibody tests are accurate to ID those individuals who are actually more likely to have immunity and therefore, now can get into trying to sort out those we need to test for diagnostic purposes. Those we don't need to do testing on a daily basis.”

There is also diagnostic testing happening at UAlbany, that can be set up by appointment. 

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