As research continues regarding the coronavirus disease and antibodies, the CDC has developed interim guidance for how healthcare providers, laboratories, and public health staff should use antibody tests. These tests look for the presence of antibodies which are proteins made in response to infections.
In general, a positive antibody test is presumed to mean that a person has been infected with COVID-19 in the past, but may not be currently infected. People who receive positive results but do not have symptoms of COVID-19 or have not been around someone who may have been infected are not likely to have a current infection. They can continue with normal activities, including work, but should still take steps to protect themselves and others.
As always, people who are currently or recently sick or have been around someone with COVID-19 should follow CDC recommendations on caring for themselves and protecting others, no matter what their antibody test results were.
If you are wondering how you should implement antibody testing in your workplace, we are here to help. According to the CDC guidance, these are the do’s and don’ts of COVID-19 antibody testing:
DO continue to follow social distancing guidelines. Until scientists get more data on whether antidies protect against reinfection, everyone should continue to take steps to protect themselves and others, even if they have had a positive antibody test.
DO continue to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). People who wear PPE at work should continue to do so regardless of their antibody test results.
DON’T use antibody test results to determine if someone can return to work. Employers should use the COVID-19 viral test, not the antibody test, to ensure that an employee is not currently infected before allowing them to return to the workplace.
DON’T use antibody tests to group people together in settings such as schools, dormitories, and correctional facilities. The COVID-19 viral test is better for this purpose.
DO reference federal, state, and local guidance related to viral and antibody testing for COVID-19.