Dear Patients of Signature Healthcare,
Signature Healthcare is now offering SARS-CoV2 Antibody (Serologic) Testing. Due to the novelty of COVID-19, antibody testing is of unknown utility and the accuracy of antibody tests is unproven. In addition, prevalence (the amount of COVID-19 in our community) is unknown, which makes the test less reliable.
Recognizing that these tests are tempting and will be offered elsewhere, we prefer to offer them to our patients so that they can be interpreted by your physician in the context of your risk of having had COVID-19.
Please note that this is an IgG test for post-infection antibodies; these do not develop until 14-21 days after infection so it is NOT helpful to get the test prior to 21 days.
If you meet the following criteria you may be eligible for testing. Please contact your nurse and/or doctor if you meet these criteria and desire testing:
- NO ACTIVE SYMPTOMS of COVID-19, including no fever or cough for more than 14 days AND 1 of the following:
- Known or high-risk exposure to COVID 19 (with or without symptoms) more than 21 days ago
- Positive PCR nasopharyngeal swab for COVID 19 more than 21 days ago
- Symptoms suspicious for COVID-19 infection more than 21 days ago (email MD to discuss)
Testing may be available for lower risk asymptomatic individuals. Please discuss this with your physician. Quantitative tests (that calculate the level of antibodies) may be superior to the currently available qualitative test. Many of our physicians are waiting for these tests before testing ourselves and our staff. It is unclear when these will be available, but possibly within the next month.
You will be required to sign a consent form. This form explains that the test, if positive, does NOT guarantee immunity to COVID-19. The cross reactivity of antibodies to non-COVID-19 coronaviruses with these tests is unknown, although the test we are using has the highest sensitivity (99%) and specificity (99.6%) currently available. Whether or not antibodies to COVID-19 result in immunity (inability to be re-infected) and for how long is unknown.
Under NO circumstances is a positive test to be used to justify violating current stay at home orders or to return to employment. Hand hygiene and social distancing remain cornerstones for preventing infections and should be continued along with consideration of masking in public. More vulnerable patients (age >65, immune suppressed) should continue to isolate.
DO NOT put staff and other patients at risk by presenting with symptoms suspicious for COVID-19. If you have questions about symptoms, call your physician. All individuals being tested will be REQUIRED to bring their own mask and arrive ON TIME. Blood draws may take place outside of the office to minimize traffic within the office. If you are due for labs or have a lab visit scheduled and testing is appropriate, the antibody test can be added to those labs. We are unsure whether insurance will reimburse for serologic testing (cost <$125).
The Physicians & Staff at Signature Healthcare