Monday, 20 April 2020 13:01

FDA Approved Random Antibody Tests Underway in New York

ALBANY – Fifty-one days since New York registered its first COVID-19 case, and 92 days since the first case in the U.S. was known, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that in New York City specifically, where more than 10,000 residents have died as a result of the virus, “the number would suggest we are seeing a descent (in cases and hospitalizations)…the question is how long and how steep the descent? Nobody knows.” 

A statewide antibody testing survey that will sample 3,000 people began Sunday in a handful of upstate communities. Local officials say they were not informed of the testing until it was already underway, and two of the local counties – Saratoga and Schenectady, handled this information in different ways.

Late Sunday afternoon, the Saratoga County Office of Emergency Service posted on its Facebook page that it had “been made aware that The New York State Department of Health is conducting Antibody Testing at the Malta Price Chopper,” and that “no appointment is required.” Many did rush to the market in the hope of securing an antibody test. 

In Schenectady County, where it appears the information was not made in such a public way, “nearly two-dozen people waited in line, including several county legislators,” the Daily Gazette reported.

The antibody test will tell whether a person had previously had COVID-19. The state is hopeful this large-scale antibody testing will help determine the percentage of the population that is now immune to the virus, allowing more individuals to safely return to work.

The finger-stick blood samples will be tested at the Wadsworth Center, which is located in Albany. The tests will take place at location across the state this week in the hope of securing random samples of the population and leading to calculations to determine how many have previously had the coronavirus. This test is different than the one which determines whether a person is currently COVID-19 positive.  

Gov. Cuomo said Monday that he anticipates “a rolling curve” of infections. That is, that different test-positive hotspots will flare up at different times. “New York City had the first curve and then they project higher curves in other states and in other parts of our state,” Cuomo said. “Buffalo will have a later curve, Albany will have a later curve, and we’re watching the curves in different parts of the state. Our strategy is: we deploy to wherever the curve is highest.”

Approximately 1.5% of Saratoga County residents had been tested for COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health through Saturday - with 251 of 3,276 persons tested had tested positive, a rate of 7.7% - similar to the rate of infection in Rensselaer and slightly lower than in Albany (9.7%), Washington (10.6%), Warren (11%) and Schenectady (12%) counties, through April 18. Updates, when they become available, may be found HERE.   

Sunday night, the Saratoga County Department of Public Health Services confirmed 269 cases of COVID-19 in Saratoga County with 11 of those individuals hospitalized at this time. The Department also confirmed the county’s tenth death from COVID-19 — a 67-year-old female from Malta.

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