OPKO Health’s (NASDAQ:OPK) BioReferences Laboratories released results of the coronavirus molecular PCR and antibody tests for the live-in facility and nursing home employees in New York.
Around 29% of nursing home staff had COVID-19 before May
On May 10, 2020, the state of New York directed all employees in adult care facilities and nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19 using molecular PCR testing twice each week. Those tested comprised of employees according to the plan developed by the facility and subsequently filed with the Health Department. When the program began, some of the nursing homes requested testing employees for antibodies.
Within the first two weeks, there were around 3,500 antibody tests conducted. Around 29% of the tested employees were positive for antibodies out of the total estimated 140,000 nursing home employees in the state. Around 41,760 nursing home employees in the state might have been infected with COVID-19 before the program began.
Over 6,000 nursing employees tested positive in May and June
Jon Cohen, BioReference Laboratories’ executive chairman, said that out of 3,500 adult facility and nursing home employees tested around 29% tested positive for antibodies. Cohen added that the high number of cases testing positive for antibodies in the nursing home staff group at the beginning of May shows that there were a substantial number of people infected early on in the COVID-19 outbreak. Further, Cohen indicated that although the antibody positivity rate for infection is currently low, more than 6,000 staff are identified in May and June with active COVID-19.
According to Cohen, the identification of positive individuals for antibodies through the mandatory testing program helped prevent spread of COVID-19 to thousands of elderly individuals in nursing homes. And as a result, several deaths were prevented, although that is impossible to demonstrate. Over this COVID-19 period, BioReference test individuals at higher risk of infection and fight against spread of virus.