Cullman Regional announced today that community members can now get a COVID-19 Antibody Test at three different locations: Cullman Regional Urgent Care Center, Cullman Regional Family & Internal Medicine and Cullman Regional Family Care.

“With so much unknown about the Coronavirus, there is equally as much unknown about the COVID-19 antibody test,” Cullman Regional Chief Medical Officer William Smith, MD said. “However, many local community members are simply curious to see if they have the antibodies or not.”

“Results should be viewed with caution as it is not known if the presence of antibodies, indicated by a positive test, actually indicates immunity or protection from COVID infection,” Smith said. “Patients should consult their healthcare providers with any questions about testing or test results.”

What is the COVID-19 Antibody Test?

It is a blood test that tests for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. The test used by Cullman Regional is the Anti-SARS-COV-2 Total IgG test.

Why should someone be tested?

Testing will help find out if you may have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. Patients must be symptom-free as it takes 2-3 weeks after the virus to develop antibodies.

What are the potential benefits of testing for COVID-19 antibodies?

  • Antibody tests let you know if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. They do not tell you if you are immune.
  • The results, along with other information, can help your healthcare provider make informed recommendations about your care.
  • This test can be useful in identifying convalescent plasma donors.

What does a positive test result mean?

If you have a positive test result, it is very likely that you have previously been exposed to COVID-19 and have developed an antibody response to the virus. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results along with other factors of your medical history, including your symptoms, possible exposures and geographic location of places you have traveled. There is also a small chance that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false positive result).

What does a negative test result mean?

A negative test result means that the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in your specimen. However, it is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) in some people with COVID-19. A negative result may occur if you are tested early in your illness and your body hasn’t had time to produce antibodies to the infection. This means that you could possibly still have COVID-19 even though the test is negative. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will consider the test result together with all other aspects of your medical history (such as symptoms, possible exposures and geographical location of places you have traveled) in deciding how to care for you and possibly even recommending a more specific test for COVID-19.

Here’s what a positive test DOES NOT mean:

  • Having a positive antibody test does not necessarily indicate that an individual is protected against re-infection.  Positive results do not indicate or rule out active infection or asymptomatic carriage. It can take 2-3 weeks for the antibodies to develop.

“Regardless of test results, patients should always follow current guidelines regarding masks, social distancing and hand washing,” Smith said.

Cullman Regional has 3 locations to serve you:

If you are interested in having the COVID-19 antibody test, talk to your doctor or click here.