Starting Monday, May 4, Westchester’s first responders are invited to be tested to see if they are carrying the antibody to the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over a thousand of the county’s residents to date. The testing is being done at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, which has been retrofitted as a hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers as a back-up to area hospitals. Testing is done in partnership with the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Staffers are capable of testing 400 a day.
We specifically want our first responders to first get this antibody testing,” said County Executive George Latimer. “These are the ones we need to have healthy and on the job.”
First to be tested will be workers at the County’s Departments of Public Safety, Emergency Services, Health, Corrections and Probation. Next will be local city, town and village police, fire and EMS workers. This testing also allows for the donation of blood plasma that may assist in the fight against the virus.
Testing positive for antibodies does not guarantee immunity, public health experts caution. Positively-tested people must still follow public health protocols such as wearing mask, social distance, hand washing. The presence of antibodies only indicates that the individual was exposed to the virus. Whether antibodies grant any level of immunity (total, partial, none) or for how long (days, weeks, permanent) is not known as this virus is too new to provide historical data. Much like a cold or the flu, COVID-19 can still recur even after recovery.