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South Florida Health Workers, First Responders to Get Antibody Tests

Virus Outbreak Florida

South Florida will get the first state testing site to detect antibodies to the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday.

The initial plan is to focus on health care workers and first responders, in order to determine who has been exposed and has some at least level of immunity.

The antibody testing will be part of the drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The governor added that the the Hard Rock site has already conducted about 20,000 coronavirus tests.

“A diagnostic test is a snapshot in time,” he said during a news conference at the stadium. “We now have the ability to test for antibodies.”

He also acknowledged that scientific debate exists about how long any immunity detected by antibodies to the coronavirus lasts.

DeSantis added, “Once the antibodies develop, if you test positive for the antibodies, it’s not like you’re going to lose the antibodies the next day. I think most believe it will confer a certain level of immunity … That is probably the safest assumption.”

The antibody test results are available within approximately 15 minutes.

The state has also 200,000 tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Besides being used at the stadium site, the tests will be given to hospitals for their workers. Antibody tests will also soon be administered in Orange and Duval counties, according to DeSantis.

DeSantis and Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, Florida’s surgeon general, said the state is working with OneBlood, which procures blood for most of Florida and some other southeastern states, in order to randomly test the state’s blood supply for coronavirus antibodies.