Thanks to a nonprofit medical agency, Volusia County residents may soon learn if they have previously contracted the novel coronavirus.
Family Health Source, which is currently doing coronavirus screenings in DeLand, Deltona and Daytona Beach, will begin offering drive-up coronavirus antibody testing at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, east of Deland.
“Many people in Volusia County have been asking for that next level,” Rep. David Santiago said at his office in Deltona April 24. “This is the next step.”
The exact date and hours of testing will be announced later, but Santiago said Family Health Source’s antibody-testing effort will be the first of its kind in Volusia County.
The test consists of drawing blood from a person, to determine if antibodies that would fend off the virus are in the bloodstream.
The blood test does not check for the virus itself; that is done by the nasal-swab tests that Family Health Source has offered to those requesting them since April 13.
The antibodies test may determine who has developed a resistance of some sort to COVID-19, although the World Health Organization has warned that those who have antibodies may not necessarily be immune to getting the virus again.
On May 1, Family Health Source will close its current coronavirus-testing sites at its office at 1205 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand; Deltona Plaza, 1200 Deltona Blvd.; and the Daytona Beach Kennel Club, 960 S. Williamson Blvd., Daytona Beach.
“The plan is to merge the testing sites,” Santiago said, noting Family Health Source will continue to offer the coronavirus screening at the fairgrounds, as well as the blood tests for COVID antibodies. The tests will be offered on a first-come/first-served basis.
“No need for appointments — just show up,” Santiago added.
Once the blood sample is taken, Santiago said, the results may be available in about five days.
Those who come for either the coronavirus screening or the antibody test will be asked if they have health insurance, but a copay is not required.
No one, Santiago said, will be turned away.
Since Family Health Source began its coronavirus screenings at the three sites April 13, more than 800 people have been checked for the disease, according to Laurie Asbury, CEO of Family Health Source.