Released: 4/17/2020 10:33:46 AM
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A shortage of Coronavirus tests has been an issue across Western New York, and the nation, since the pandemic began, but testing is slowly ramping up locally.
Kaleida Health announced on Friday that it has expanded its laboratory testing by adding essential workers, and has an antibody test ready to launch.
Essential workers include people working on utilities, food processing, grocery store employees and others who are still working with the public outside of their homes.
“We’ve been struggling for several weeks now to obtain enough testing,” said Dr. David Hughes, Chief Medical Officer at Kaleida Health. “We have now gotten to a point where we’re comfortable rolling it out to essential workers as of this morning.”
Though this is a step in opening up testing, Kaleida says that a prescription is still required for essential workers to get a test. Testing will be done at two sites and results can be returned in about 48 hours.
The next step in testing will be opening it up to the general public.
“We do expect at some point next week, Ideally early next week, we’ll be able to expand that to even beyond the essential workers in the community, to all patients in the community that are symptomatic,” Hughes said. “That’s exciting. we’ve all been struggling very hard to get to that point.”
Kaleida also announced the development of an antibody test.
How to use those tests is something still being determined by State and Federal agencies, but Kaleida representatives say they are positioned to begin offering the test to the appropriate populations. The results of an antibody test and the effectiveness of those antibodies in protecting people from the virus will have a significant impact on how we fight Coronavirus moving forward.
"Nobody knows whether or not having an antibody to the virus today will provide immunity tomorrow, next week, or a month after that."
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