By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – If you’re wondering if you’ve been exposed to or even had the coronavirus there is now a COVID-19 antibody test that will let you know. As of June 3 in Colorado there have been 12,438 of these tests performed with 466 positive results, which is an infection rate of 3.7 percent. But for staff and providers at UCHealth the infection rate was much lower at 2.3 percent.

“While one might expect health care workers in hospitals would have higher rates of exposure, the results that we’ve seen so far indicate our employees and providers have lower rates of infection,” said Rob Welch, UCHealth’s lead laboratory director. “This suggests that our education efforts, personal protective equipment, social distancing and the strong infection prevention measures put in place by UCHealth at its hospitals and other health care facilities do indeed work, and our employees are following safety guidelines when they are not at work as well.”

UCHealth labs are now doing both COVID-19 tests and antibody tests for members of the public. Photo by UCHealth.

The test is performed by taking blood from a patient and sending it to a lab. UCHealth’s antibody test is one of just a few authorized by the FDA. It’s also one of the most accurate being offered in the nation. UCHealth did validation testing with people known to be positive and negative for the virus to prove the specificity of the tests, said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth’s chief innovation officer and chair and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“A positive test does not mean that a person should feel he or she is safe from COVID-19, as there is not enough known about whether antibodies protect a person,” Zane said. “We don’t know if having antibodies means you will be immune from contracting COVID-19.”

UCHealth labs are now doing both COVID-19 tests and antibody tests for members of the public. Photo by UCHealth.

For more information or to schedule a test click here or use the UCHealth mobile app. If you are not a current patient of UCHealth you will have to create an account and then schedule testing. UCHealth says most insurance plans will cover the cost of the test but it is advised to call and ask your provider to be sure.

Dr. Michelle Barron, medical director of infection prevention and control at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, encourages everyone to continue to be mindful of steps people can take to reduce exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.

“It’s imperative to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and my message to everyone is: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t change your behavior. Continue to practice physical distancing, wash your hands often and wear a mask when appropriate,” Barron said.

Chris Spears