The City of Carmel will begin testing for COVID-19 antibodies in its employees in early June.
A positive antibody test indicates the person being tested has had COVID-19. Many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and may not know they had the disease.
City employees that test positive for antibodies will not need to be tested for COVID-19 unless they begin to show symptoms. Carmel has spent more than $350,000 to test many of its employees for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Twenty-five employees or approximately 4 percent of the workforce have tested positive, with many of them being asymptomatic.
“Because we were able to detect the existence of the virus, we could initiate contact tracing, determine others who should be tested, keep our employees safe and cut down the spread of this disease in our community,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard stated in a press release. “The addition of the antibody test will allow us to better track those who may not only be immune, but could donate plasma. Employees who have the antibodies may also be able to donate plasma to help people with the most severe cases of COVID-19 recover more quickly.”
The city selected American Health Network to conduct the antibody testing after reviewing five vendors. The AHN antibody tests cost $53 per employee. The COVID-19 viral test from Aria Diagnostics costs $135, a rate that has been reduced from $150.