COVID-19 antibody testing now available in SCV

Exer nurse Jillian Lehr, right, performs a COVID-19 antibody test on Michael Tsaturyan, left, the manager at Exer's Canyon Country facility, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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Antibody testing for coronavirus is now available to Santa Clarita Valley residents.

“With this new antibody testing, we have the ability to identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and may not have experienced associated symptoms,” Dr. Brian Wilbur, chief medical officer with Exer Urgent Care, said in a prepared statement Friday. “We’re taking the next steps in understanding this virus and providing our patients with the highest level of testing in efforts to keep them healthy and aware.” 

With a blood sample, this FDA-authorized test detects the presence of the virus’ antibodies produced in the blood and identifies those who may have either been exposed to or recovered from COVID-19, according to Exer officials.  

Exer nurse Jillian Lehr holds a vial to be used in collecting blood samples to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

On Friday, Exer announced antibody testing is now available at all 16 of its clinics across Southern California, including both the Canyon Country and Stevenson Ranch locations. 

In order to receive the most effective results, testing must be conducted a minimum of 10 days after infection or exposure, which helps ensure sensitivity and produces more accurate results as antibodies can take time to form after an infection, per Exer officials. 

Results are expected within 24 to 48 hours after testing and Exer then notifies patients of their results and recommended next steps.

Exer is offering COVID-19 antibody tests to patients who suspect they may have been infected with the virus but recovered. April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Those interested in receiving an antibody test must receive a referral through Exer’s  “VirtualCare by Exer” platform, an online urgent care service that provides real-time access to a doctor via video chat, or at an Exer clinic.

Once a referral is acquired, patients can proceed to an Exer clinic, where they will be tested for immunoglobulin class G, the most common antibody, according to a news release issued by Exer. It remains unclear whether possessing this antibody means immunity from COVID-19. 

For those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, runny nose and shortness of breath, a nasal swab test is the current gold standard for diagnosis and can also be acquired with a referral from Exer’s VirtualCare to the drive-up testing site at the Stevenson Ranch clinic.

Exer nurse Jillian Lehr, right, performs a COVID-19 antibody test on Michael Tsaturyan, left, the manager at Exer’s Canyon Country facility, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

In addition, AFC Urgent Care is also offering COVID-19 testing, as well as antibody testing.

Those interested in receiving a test are asked to visit any of the AFC clinic locations, including the one in Canyon Country. 

Prior to the blood draw for the antibody test, patients will have a consultation with an AFC provider, who will make sure patients are asymptomatic, as well as document the timing and nature of past symptoms, if any, according to AFC officials. 

Exer nurse Jillian Lehr performs a COVID-19 antibody test on Michael Tsaturyan, the manager of Exer’s Canyon Country facility, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

An AFC medical assistant is then expected to contact patients with results within 24 to 48 hours, or within 72 hours for the COVID-19 nasal swab test. 

For more information about Exer Urgent Care, visit ExerUrgentCare.com or call 661-556-9020. 

For more information about AFC Urgent Care, visit afcurgentcare.com or call 661-367-8429.

To view all coronavirus-related stories, visit signalscv.com/category/news/coronavirus.

Exer nurse Jillian Lehr, right, holds a vial of blood taken from Michael Tsaturyan, left, the manager at Exer’s Canyon Country facility, Monday afternoon for a COVID-19 antibody test. April 27, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

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