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Serology testing for COVID-19

Testing can provide important information regarding an individual’s health and virus activity in a population. Serology testing looks for things called antibodies in your blood. Your body makes antibodies when fighting an infection, like COVID-19. The same thing happens when you get a vaccine, like a flu shot. That’s how you build immunity to a virus. When antibodies are detected in your blood it suggests prior infection. The antibody test isn’t checking for the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system – your body’s defense against illness – has responded to the infection. This testing is sometimes also referred to as IgG testing. We currently do not know how well those antibodies work to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus or how long they provide protection.

Frequently Asked Questions:

• What does the test involve? This test is a simple blood draw with a needle stick to the arm.

• What will the cost be? $60 per test due at the time of the visit. Insurance will not be billed.

• How soon will I get results? The results will be available through My Chart in 24-48 hours. If you don’t have My Chart, it will be 5-7 business days and will arrive in the mail. Results will not be available by phone.

• Who gets the results? In addition to the individual tested, Orange City Area Health system is required tosubmit test results to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) per order of the Iowa governor.

• What do the results mean?
Positive: IgG antibodies to coronavirus have been detected. It is unknown if this provides immunity to future infection.
Negative: No antibodies to coronavirus detected. A negative or nonreactive result does not rule out past or current infection as individuals tested early after exposure may not have detectable antibodies. Not all individuals will develop a detectable antibody response after infection.

If you have questions on what your individual results mean, please make an appointment with your physician.

• Why do serology testing? You could have SARS-CoV-2 and not know it. Not everyone who gets it has symptoms. You may be curious and want to know if you have had it or your employer may want you to get tested. Experts hope antibody tests can give health officials a better idea of how common the virus is. Once scientists know who has had the virus, they can find out how sick it makes most people. And they can study what happens if people who’ve had it come into contact with it again. Along with other scientific information, this can help researchers understand who might be immune to the virus.


Serology testing is available in our Walk-In Clinic throughout July, 2020, Monday-Friday from Noon-4pm. The cost is $60, due at time of service.