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On the front line: Providers testing for COVID-19 antibodies as the state issues testing blitz

"Researchers don't know how long your body will have or hold onto the antibodies, so it’s still a very fluid and gray area we really don’t know.”

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services announced last week they are expanding COVID-19 testing for Arizonans. Through May 16, the state hopes to test 60,000 thousand people through community partnerships including the private healthcare sector. They call it the "Arizona Testing Blitz." 

According to ADHS, fewer than 90,000 thousand people have been tested for COVID-19. Johns Hopkins University ranks the state second to last in testing, only above Puerto Rico. 

On Tuesday, The Nick Lowery Foundation and Dr. Nancy Gaines-Dillard tested front-line workers and homeless individuals at St. Vincent De Paul for COVID-19 antibodies. They are using an FDA authorized COVID-19 rapid antibody test which reportedly yields results in 10 minutes with a 92% accuracy. 

"We're reaching a population that's often overlooked and not currently in those statistics of being testing, we want to change that," said Dr. Gaines-Dillard. "For individuals that are curious to know if they've been exposed to the coronavirus and perhaps have antibodies, we use blood via a finger stick." 

Dr. Gaines-Dillard says testing for anti-bodies is good for the state, although researchers are still unclear if a person will be immune from the virus again if they recover from it. 

"Research doesn’t even know how long your body will have or hold onto the immunity, the antibodies, so it’s still a very fluid and gray area we really don’t know," she said. 

Gaines-Dillard says people still need to practice social distance guideline. 

Officials says out of the 91 antibody tests performed Tuesday, all results were negative. 

On Thursday, Champions for the Homeless, the Nick Lowery Foundation and Dr. Nancy's team will be testing 150 Military Veterans at the Glendale Civic Center parking lot from 10-1 p.m. 

To schedule a COVID-19 antibody test, call Dr. Nancy’s Integrative Clinics (480) 669-6452 or Peak Health (480)550-6640. You must tell them you heard about the test from Nick Lowery or the Nick Lowery Foundation, and for every test given, a free test will be donated through the foundation’s Champions program.

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