Chester County gets green light to start antibody testing of frontline workers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Chester County has the green light from the state to start antibody testing of frontline workers, including first responders and healthcare personnel.

Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz said the testing can help as conversations begin on how to start lifting restrictions. 

“Anything we can do to move that along I think would be beneficial, and it does give us some tools to make some forward looking decisions,” Moskowitz said. 

The antibody test doesn’t say who is carrying the virus. Instead, it tells them who has antibodies against the virus, which Moskowitz said will help them decide who to assign where.

For example, she said, if someone tests negative for the antibodies, “I don’t know that we want them going into a home on an ambulance call or a first responder call that has coronavirus. If we send somebody in with antibodies already — they still need protective gear and all of that, but we’re less likely that they will get it again.”

The test — from a Chester County company — uses a finger prick for a drop of blood and gives results in minutes, with no shortage in supplies.

But she said workers are still taking precautions, as the science is still out on how effective antibodies are against getting reinfected.

“We don’t know for sure what that immunity or antibody means because there is still a lot of investigative work being done. But we do know they’ve had it. And that gives us a little assurance we can use those people in areas where there is COVID-19,” she said.