Thursday, April 30, 2020

Olean General begin COVID-19 antibody testing for employees

Olean General Hospital and Bradford Regional Medical Center, member hospitals of Upper Allegheny Health System (UAHS), are now offering antibody testing for COVID-19 to all of its employees.
“Our employees are on the front line of battling this pandemic and they are our most valuable asset, showing their dedication and commitment on a daily basis,” said Jeff Zewe, RN, president and chief executive officer, UAHS. “We are pleased to now be able to offer antibody testing to any employee who wishes to have it.”
“The antibody test is a blood draw which indicates if you had the COVID-19 virus and have developed antibodies against the virus. A positive test means you were exposed to COVID-19 at some point in the past and your immune system was robust enough to launch an antibody-forming immune response. Typically, a positive antibody test means that you are immune to the disease, but as this is a “novel” virus, there is not enough evidence yet to determine whether you can get COVID-19 more than once,” said William Mills, MD, chief medical officer, UAHS.
“Antibody testing will give us a better understanding of who in the workforce has some immunity to COVID-19. This information will be valuable as we move forward,” Dr. Mills said.
“The testing is an additional effort to determine how prevalent the disease is in our communities,” Dr. Mills said. “Testing is the key to controlling the spread of this virus on local, state, national and global levels. As we expand testing, we are better able to keep people safe.”
“Both Cattaraugus and McKean counties have seen a relatively low impact from COVID-19,” Zewe said. “With this new testing capability, we are helping to control the spread of the disease.”