Coronavirus News: Nassau County launches antibody testing for frontline workers

MINEOLA, Nassau County (WABC) -- Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a partnership Tuesday with Northwell Health to provide COVID-19 antibody testing for all of the county's first responders and essential personnel.

The testing will be available by appointment to police officers, police medics, correction officers, deputy sheriffs, fire service and other essential law enforcement and government workers from the county, cities, towns, and villages within Nassau County who directly interact with the public while working.

"We owe so much to our first responders and essential personnel who have been working on the frontlines of this pandemic and putting their own health at risk to keep our communities safe," Curran said. "We have already seen many positive cases in our workforce, and this test will help expand our knowledge of who may have been exposed to the virus."

The county has thousands of first responders and emergency employees working to combat the COVID-19 public health crisis, and after months of responding to the pandemic, many first responders and essential employees have contracted the virus -- including 191 positive cases in the Nassau County Police Department and 270 positive cases in the 71 fire departments across the county.

"Today's commencement of the COVID Antibody Testing is an important step to determine if our first responders test positive for the antibody," Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "These tests have been validated with regard to accuracy and have met strict protocols for us to move forward as the health and safety of our first responders and our residents are of the utmost importance."

The antibody test, which is conducted by blood test, will reveal if someone has previously been infected by COVID-19, even if they were asymptomatic.

The COVID-19 antibody test received New York State and FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

The blood testing began Tuesday for eligible employees, with the county aiming to test 500 emergency and essential personnel per day.

The test is also open for essential county employees who interact with the public, such as employees at the Department of Health and Department of Social Services.

Testing may be expanded at a later date for other employees.

The test is for antibodies only and is not for someone who is currently symptomatic. The county also offers viral testing at NUMC for first responders showing symptoms of COVID-19.

For more information about making an appointment for antibody testing, eligible employees can call the county's coronavirus hotline at 516-227-9570.

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