SSM, Mercyhealth to offer COVID-19 antibody tests

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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -- SSM Health and Mercyhealth are teaming up to provide COVID-19 antibody tests in the Janesville. The blood test will let people know if they previously had the virus. The test, however, will not indicate whether an individual is currently infected.

“We know that some individuals with COVID-19 infection have very mild symptoms or in some cases, no symptoms at all,” SSM Health regional president of Medical Groups Mark Thompson, MD, explained. “This test can help us determine if a person was infected at one time, but didn’t know it.”

In its announcement, health officials pointed out that there is not enough research yet to confirm if having the antibody would mean the patient is immune to COVID-19.

“This test will hopefully tell us whether or not a patient has developed an immune response to the virus,” medical director and vice president at Mercyhealth Mark Goelzer, MD, said.

They go on to emphasize that a positive result for the antibody does mean a person should stop social distancing, wearing face masks, or taking other recommended precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Someone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell, should not take the test.

According to the statement from the health systems, antibody tests are administered at Mercyhealth, via lab locations in Wisconsin and Illinois. Samples are sent to LabCorp for processing and are generally available within 24-48 hours.

Tests administered at Dean Medical Group – Janesville East are run through the SSM Health regional lab at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. Results are generally available in 24 hours.