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Georgia rolls out first antibody testing initiative to understand spread of COVID-19
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is depicted in an illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020. - photo by Associated Press

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The Georgia Department of Public Health announced Monday its first antibody testing effort to better understand the spread of COVID-19.

Between April 28 to May 4, teams of public health professionals will visit randomly selected homes in Fulton and DeKalb counties, where community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has already been documented. 

The initiative is being conducted alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Fulton and DeKalb County Board of Health. Fulton and DeKalb have the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, with 2,545 and 1,800, respectively, according to the DPH.

Teams will visit households within census “blocks” in both counties selected at random. Participation is voluntary, and teams will have identifiable CDC badges and vests as well as possess an official letter from the CDC and DPH.

Household members will be asked to answer survey questions and provide a blood sample to be tested for antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, which typically take one to three weeks to develop, the DPH said.

“We encourage everyone who is visited by the teams to participate in this very important survey that can help public health officials assess how widespread COVID-19 is in certain areas,” DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey said in a statement. “This is another way that Georgians can play a role in helping fight this virus.”

Antibody testing, also known as serology tests, will allow public health officials to estimate how many people have been infected and how many might still be at risk of infection, according to the DPH.