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New COVID-19 antibody test available to everyone in eastern Idaho beginning Monday

Coronavirus

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Dr. Tommy Alquist administering COVID-19 antibody test last week in Treasure Valley. | Courtesy Camille Blaylock

IDAHO FALLS — Since the onset of COVID-19, there have been many questions surrounding testing requirements for the virus and who is able to get a test.

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Beginning Monday, Crush The Curve Idaho, a statewide initiative aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus, is partnering with Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls to offer a COVID-19 antibody serology test to anyone who would like it.

“This is a blood draw to fill a little tube, which will be sent to the University of Washington to get results back,” Tina Upson, Executive Director of Crush the Curve, tells EastIdahoNews.com.

It takes about two to three minutes and results are available two days later, Upson says.

The test specifically determines whether someone had COVID-19, not just a generic form of coronavirus. Though this test is not FDA-approved, Upson says it is authorized for use under the emergency act.

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“Crush The Curve Idaho tested over 5,000 people for COVID-19 antibodies in the Treasure Valley last week,” Ball Ventures CEO and CrushTheCurve Board Member Cortney Liddiard says in a news release. “It is obvious there is a need for this important data and we are thrilled to have found such a great testing partner to help meet the demand.”

People who had been sick for the first three months of the year weren’t eligible to get tested previously because of limited testing supplies, Upson says.

“We’ve been able to move over 1,000 people a day through (the Treasure Valley) testing site…and get answers to (their) questions,” she says.

Testing will be available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at The Waterfront in Snake River Landing. All social distancing rules will be followed and nearly 50 volunteers will be on-hand to help administer the test.

Those who show up will be given a packet to fill out in their car, which Upson says will take about 10 minutes. Once the paperwork is complete, you put it on your dashboard and wait for your name to be called. Once your paperwork is reviewed, you’ll be directed to the blood draw line.

“What we’re finding in Meridian and in the Treasure Valley is…they’re in and out in 30 minutes,” she says. “Day one may be a bit slower…but the team of volunteers will make it a good experience. Even if wait times are a bit higher because of demand, I am cautiously optimistic that that will be just fine with everybody.”

Sanitation volunteers will be wiping everything down constantly. If you feel you currently have COVID-19, Upson says active virus testing is available by calling (208) 542-7032 Ext. 0.

The test costs $95 and may be covered by your insurance provider. Upson says there will be funding set aside for those unable to pay and no one will be turned away.

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Upson says all test results are reported to the state.

Testing will be available in Chubbuck beginning Thursday at Idaho Central Credit Union at 4400 Central Way.

“By opening testing to everyone, we will help Idaho return to work with a pathway going forward,” Dr. Tommy Ahlquist, CEO of BVA Development says in a news release. “We now have the capacity to quickly test anyone and provide repeat antibody testing at recommended intervals. These baseline tests will be important as we establish who has been exposed to COVID-19. Repeat testing will be critical as we move forward.”

Appointments are not required but you can streamline the process if one is set up. To schedule an appointment, click here.

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