LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – In the last ten days, nearly 3,000 people have been tested for coronavirus antibodies at QUICKmed Urgent Care Centers. CEO Lena Esmail said 15% of them were positive and never knew they were sick.
“You’re talking 15 out of every hundred people you came into contact with has had COVID-19 and didn’t know it.”
Although stay-at-home guidelines went into effect in March, Esmail believes people were actually becoming infected a month or two earlier — some of them working as first responders.
“We’ve had people that swear up and down, they thought they used [personal protective equipment] with every known exposure, which beckons the question — were they exposed to people prior to the pandemic happening?”
“COVID’s been a very interesting illness to watch,” said Dr. James Kravec, Mahoning County medical director. “We’ve seen the symptoms change.”
Kravec said as the list of coronavirus symptoms has grown over the last six weeks, not every patient presents the same way. He said some have come down with a rash or discolored fingers or toes, but those are not symptoms on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list.
“We have people just with a rash, that’s it, and they’re positive. People just with the loss of taste. No fever, no cough, no shortness of breath and so it becomes challenging.”
Across the country, antibody testing methods have been criticized for their accuracy. However, Esmail said every one of the antibody tests performed by her staff on people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has also come back positive.
“All 109 of them had it. It was 100% accuracy for them.”
For now, she said her staff will continue offering tests for the live virus and antibodies as long as there are patients getting sick with COVID-19.