COVID-19 Antibody Testing Available at Baptist Health Urgent Care and Urgent Care Express Locations

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to rise, more and more people are wondering if they may have COVID-19 or have already been exposed to the virus. Antibody testing is available at all Baptist Health Urgent Care and Urgent Care Express locations across South Florida and can confirm past or recent exposure to COVID-19, which scientists believe leaves one less likely to be re-infected. David Mishkin, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist with Baptist Health, answers some frequently asked questions about antibody testing.

Resource: What is an antibody test?

David Mishkin, M.D., emergency medicine specialist, Baptist Health South Florida

Dr. Mishkin: Antibodies are proteins found in our bloodwhich are made in response to infections. We can acquire antibodies fromeither exposure to prior infections or from vaccines. Serology, or antibody,testing shows us if a patient has been previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)even if they only developed mildsymptoms or were asymptomatic. However, it cannot tell us whether they arecurrently infected. 

Resource: What is the benefit of having an antibody test?

Dr. Mishkin: We don’t yet have enough information currentlyto know the true benefit but the hope is that, just like with theseasonal flu virus, someone who carries COVID-19 antibodies maybe less likely to be re-infected with the virus. It can also helpserve as a tool in population health management by giving us a more detailedand accurate picture of how, where and to what extent the virus is spreading inour community. There are probably many people in South Florida who had thecoronavirus and never knew it because they had little or no symptoms. Having this information is criticallyimportant as we enter the next phase of the pandemic.

Resource: So if you test positive, do you stillhave to worry about catching COVID-19 again or infecting others? 

Dr. Mishkin: There may still be a possibility. Ifantibodies are present, it often indicates a past infection but doesn’t excluderecently infected patients who may still be contagious. We don’t know how longantibodies to COVID-19 remain present in the body after the infection has beencleared. It’s also unknown whether these antibodies confer immunity toinfection.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)advises that even those with positive antibodies to COVID-19 should still takethe necessary steps to protect themselves and others. This includes wearinga mask while in public, which many South Florida cities are enforcing, and stayingsix feet away from other people outside of their home, or social distancing. Antibodytest results should not be used to inform return to school, work, or congregatesetting decisions or use of personal protective equipment decisions.

Resource: If your antibody test comes backpositive, do you need a different test to determine if your COVID-19 infectionis active/current? 

Dr. Mishkin: Yes, antibody tests are not used for the diagnosisof active infection. The results obtained with this test should only beinterpreted in conjunction with clinical findings and results from otherlaboratory tests and evaluations. 

Resource: How accurate is the antibody test?

Dr. Mishkin: The antibody test we use at Baptist Healthhas an accuracy rate of 99.6 percent. False positives may occur due tocross-reactivity from pre-existing antibodies, interfering substances or otherpossible causes. Also, some patients who are immunocompromised may fail toproduce detectable antibodies. 

Resource: Where can one go to get an antibody test?

Dr. Mishkin: You can get a COVID-19 antibody test at any Baptist Health Urgent Care or Urgent Care Express location — no advance prescription is required and the process only takes a few minutes for a quick blood draw. Test results are provided to you in 72 hours or less.  Simply save your spot online at your nearest location by visiting BaptistHealth.net/UrgentCare.

Concerned you may have coronavirus?
Use our online Coronavirus Assessment tool or call our COVID-19 hotline, 1-833-MYBAPTIST (833-692-2784). To see a doctor on your phone from the comfort and safety of your home, download Baptist Health Care On Demand.

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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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