SACO, Maine — The City of Saco announced Monday that antibody testing will be available for first responders, public safety dispatchers, lifeguards, and direct mutual aid partners this week. Testing will be available at a mobile unit visiting Central Fire Station from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on June 16 and 18. The direct mutual aid agencies joining Saco include Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, and Goodwins Mills.
An antibody test is different from a COVID-19 test, in that an antibody test is an after-the-fact test that shows your body fought off the disease. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) an antibody test checks blood by looking for antibodies, which can show if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
A positive result typically means you have been exposed to coronavirus, most likely COVID-19 as the other strains of coronavirus are less prevalent. While experts say antibodies likely indicate you now have some protection against COVID-19, there is insufficient scientific evidence proving such.
“Saco's Firefighter/EMS Providers respond to more than 3,500 fire suppression incidents per year (including 81 major fire incidents) and more than 2,800 emergency medical calls,” a City of Saco spokesperson said in a release. “In the time of COVID-19, these brave men and women face new challenges to their health and safety but have remained dedicated to protecting our community members.”
Facilitated with AFC Urgent Care in South Portland, the mobile unit will be staffed by two medical assistants who will perform blood draws for the antibody test.
Quest Laboratories, a leader in infectious disease testing services, is using the Abbott Architect Kit for the antibody tests. You can learn more about the test here. This test is not approved by the FDA but has been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA.
"Saco Police Officers, along with other first responders, have continued responding to calls during the pandemic and may not know if they have been exposed to COVID-19, especially since some are asymptomatic,” said Police Chief Jack Clements. “This testing will provide valuable information to our workforce as well as critical data for the Maine CDC.”
Individuals will be notified of their test results, which are expected within 24-48 hours of testing.
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