- Four Seasons Pediatrics - http://www.fourseasonspediatrics.com -

Antibody Testing for the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

Tele-Visits (Video Visits) are available to discuss the pros and cons of testing. This is a blood test done at the lab and not a fingerprick in the office.

Antibody testing was performed throughout New York State and you may have heard some of the statistics of the 3000 people randomly tested.  Click here [1] for information about those results.  In short for New York City, about 21% of those tested had antibodies.  For the rest of the state it was just under 4%.  Both LabCorp and Quest labs have antibody testing that is available.  We know that this will create a high demand for parents who want their children tested and will lead to requests that will exceed the ability to meet those requests.  We want to begin offering appropriate testing to those with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 

We will start with those who feel their children had an illness that might have been consistent with COVID-19.  Studies have shown that 73% of children had one of the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.  Individually, 56% had fever, 54% had cough, 35% had sore throat, 23% had muscle aches and 13% had shortness of breath.   Considering these symptoms, here is the approach we will take:

  1. Clarification about COVID-19 Antibody tests.  We recommend you discuss testing through a TeleVisit (Video Visit). This can be done in the comfort of your home. TeleVisits have no cost share for New York State Insurance companies for as long as your insurance company determines it is part of the COVID-19 crisis. Please note that this is a blood test done at the lab and is not a finger prick test. This is a measure of the amount of antibodies present in the blood. Some people have requested to discuss testing during a well visit. We prefer the TeleVisit. Please be aware that during the COVID-19 crisis there is no cost share for Video Visits, but there may be a cost share for evaluation and testing done during an office visit, including well visits.  We also feel it is important to give the well visit and the testing discussion the time they both deserve. If you feel you still want testing during your well visit, we ask that you fill out the questionnaire attached here [2]. Please note that the discussion of the testing will be at the end of the visit after well visit concerns have been addressed. If the provider feels that they cannot accommodate the request they will ask the family to schedule a TeleVisit.

2. Check with your insurance about coverage for the antibody test.  According to guidance issued on April 11th, found here [3], health plans must cover antibody tests, if the patient’s healthcare provider has evaluated the need for such testing.   As we will determine that need, this should meet the federal mandate, but you should check with your insurance to be sure.  

3. Please review the symptoms above.  If you feel that your child started these symptoms between January and up until 3 WEEKS ago (it takes 21 days to make antibodies from the start of the infection), please call us to arrange a Televisit to discuss the risk and benefit of antibody testing.  We would like to have your provider review your symptoms and then have shared decision making about the benefits of testing.  Before the Televisit, you will fill out a questionnaire to help us determine recommendations.  After that appointment, if it is agreed that the testing would be helpful, we will send an order to your lab (Labcorp or Quest).  See below for details about these labs.  At the time of the test, you should be symptom free to go for the testing. 

4. For those who have not had symptoms, we will consider those requests at a later time.  At the present time, we ask that ONLY those with symptoms request an appointment.   When the volume of requests allow us, we will send out another newsletter requesting others to do the same.  The accuracy of testing is affected by whether or not you had a higher or lower probability of having had the infection.  This can affect the false negatives and the false positives of the test.  There is not a test that is 100%.  

Our staff will also be starting a process to reach out to those we have not heard from in the last 4 weeks.  We want to be sure you are okay during this long stay at home order.   Please feel free to contact us if you are having any issues with obtaining food, feeling isolated, needed resources or other assistance.  We are here to help.  

LabCorp Testing:

If a test is ordered after shared decision making, an electronic order will be sent to LabCorp.  Please make an online appointment by clicking here [4].   For a list of insurances that are covered, click here [5].  After making your appointment, it is our understanding that you will be able to text the LabCorp Service Center upon your arrival.  You will stay in your car and they will text you when it is time to come in.  At this time, we do not know the turn around time for antibody testing.  

Quest Testing (Blue Shield of NENY):

If a test is ordered after shared decision making, an order will be faxed to the Quest Service Center that you have chosen.  Please click here [6] for a list of Service Centers.  For a list of insurances that are covered, click here [7].  After making an appointment, you will get a confirmation number that will be emailed with a scan.  The number can be entered, or you can scan the code.  Turn around time is predicted to be 2 days depending on volume.  

Questionnaire for symptoms [8]