Q: One question I have that others have also mentioned to me: Does the state testing site at Market Place Mall report if a person tests positive but is already recovered? Or does the test only report if a person is positive at that moment in time?
A: The testing at Market Place Mall is a self-collected nasal swab that is testing for the presence of the virus. It will tell you if you currently have the virus.
The nasal swab, nasopharyngeal swab, and now saliva tests, are testing for this. They are called RT-PCR tests.
Antibody tests, which are blood tests, will tell you if you have had the virus in the past. These tests are not being widely used.
At this time, we do not know what it means if you have antibodies to COVID-19. Are you able to get it again? Do you have limited immunity? If you get it a second or third time, will it be worse?
Once science has caught up with this virus, and if it shows that infection confers immunity, these tests will be much more useful. They will help guide individual decision making (I can be around people now because I cannot get it again).
It will also be useful to public health for planning and response efforts. How many people are immune? How many vaccinations will be needed in our community, etc.
The community-based testing site at Market Place Mall is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. It may close early due to threat of severe weather.
The testing is a drive-thru clinic that is free and available for anyone.