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COVID-19 Antibody Tests for City-Employees

Post Date:05/18/2020 8:00 AM

Carmel, Indiana: A Partnership for Tomorrow
City of Carmel
Carmel.in.gov
One Civic Square
Carmel, IN 46032


NEWS RELEASE

Date:                May 18, 2020
Contact:          Nancy Heck, 317-571-2494
Release:          Immediate


Carmel to Begin Testing City Employees for COVID-19 Antibodies


Carmel, IN – The City of Carmel will begin testing for COVID-19 antibodies in city employees beginning on or about June 1. Unlike the viral tests that have been taking place for the past several weeks, antibody blood tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and they may indicate a certain level of immunity.

Any city employee that tests positive for antibodies will no longer need to be virally tested unless they begin to show symptoms. The City currently has 25 employees who have tested positive for the virus. The sooner employees can be tested for antibodies, the sooner it will be known whether or not we can take them out of the rotation. This will save the city money and reduce the stress for employees being tested on a weekly basis. The City has spent more than $350,000 on viral testing of employees. The viral test costs $135 per employee (down from $150 per test after a renegotiation between the City and Aria Diagnostics) while the antibody tests will cost $53 per employee. The City of Carmel reviewed five vendors for the antibody testing and selected American Health Network for their competitive pricing, their ability to test large numbers of employees at convenient locations and their staff of experienced phlebotomists.

“Spending money to test employees for the virus helps us save lives, stop the spread of the virus and avoid having to pay the estimated $100,000 cost of hospitalization for a week for just one employee,” said Mayor Jim Brainard. “It is also important to note that slightly more than four percent of our city work force has tested positive, the majority of which were asymptomatic. Because we were able to detect the existence of the virus, we could initiate contact tracing, determine others who should be tested, keep our employees safe and cut down the spread of this disease in our community. The addition of the antibody test will allow us to better track those who may not only be immune, but could donate plasma. Employees who have the antibodies may also be able to donate plasma to help people with the most severe cases of COVID-19 recover more quickly."


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