CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Antibody tests could be a key to reopening. A first-of-its-kind site to test for them is now open in Chester County.
“On behalf of the first responders in Chester County, the opening of this facility and this testing process has been tremendous,” Gary Vinnacombe, president of EMS Council for Chester County, said.
After nearly a month of efforts by the Chester County government to overcome restrictions imposed for antibody testing, the county confirmed it’s started testing essential frontline workers of the COVID-19 crisis.
The first full day of testing was on Friday at Longwood Gardens in Chadds Ford and Chester County’s Public Safety Training Campus in South Coatesville.
Workers tested for antibodies in more than 1,000 Chester County first responders, health care workers and members of their households.
Chester County is the first in Pennsylvania to undertake antibody testing.
“This is not a replacement test for confirming cases, but it is another tool that is helping us to respond to emergencies,” a county official said.
County officials say the test results will give information needed to plan for the reopening of Chester County. The antibody testing is in the form of a simple pin-prick test kit.
Chester County commissioners, the Department of Emergency Services and the Department of Health are expecting about 1,000 people to get tested on Saturday.
“That’s one of the biggest things we heard from the first responders is the anxiety associated with being at home and potentially affecting their family,” Vinnacombe said, “so this process is easing a lot of that and it’s providing real-time information to our actual condition.”
Testing is by appointment only through an online registration system.
County officials say they will continue testing until all of the frontline workers that want to be tested are tested.