Coronavirus News: CityMD changes messaging after telling 15,000 patients with antibodies in New York, New Jersey they have immunity

NEW YORK (WABC) -- CityMD is changing its messaging after telling 15,000 patients in New York and New Jersey that positive results on their COVID-19 antibody test meant they had immunity.

The urgent care chain is now updating its message to patients who have tested positive.

City MD released the following statement Tuesday:

"All CityMD patients getting the COVID-19 antibody test are given several documents (including printed discharge instructions and an FAQ) explaining that a positive result does not necessarily mean they have long-term immunity to COVID-19. Some CityMD patients received additional information from our patient portal saying a positive result on the COVID-19 antibody test confers immunity.

Many public health experts have said that the presence of antibodies in a patient means it is very likely that the patient has some degree of immunity. That said, we were concerned that the portal message might create some confusion for our patients, so we decided to remove that language from the portal message. We have contacted all affected patients and apologize for the confusion."

CityMD recently made the tests available to those who tested positive for COVID, those who believe they had it and have been symptom-free for at least two weeks, and for those who believe they were exposed to the virus. There's no charge from the urgent care center for the testing -- they waive insurance co-pays.

The testing has been made available, without appointments, at all of their centers. A line has been forming outside of some locations where people have been social distancing by standing six feet apart.

If you test positive for antibodies, former FDA Associate commissioner Peter Pitts said it means you were exposed to the virus.

"Understanding who has already gone through COVID and come out on the other end of the tunnel is crucially important," Pitts said.

But health experts are still unsure about the level of immunity those antibodies could provide. Doctors have said they don't have enough evidence to know if the antibodies prevent someone from being re-infected.


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