SONOMA COUNTY, CA— Antibody testing in Sonoma County was expanded Friday to include residents who are currently employed in school settings or were employed in a school setting during the 2019-2020 school year.
School employees include teachers — academic, physical education, music or arts — assistants, principals, administrative staff, one-on-one aides and custodians in school settings.
Antibody testing is a blood test to identify if coronavirus antibodies are present in the body, which indicates a previous infection. Testing positive for antibodies does not necessarily indicate immunity.
The county of Sonoma continues to offer antibody testing for first responders, police and fire personnel, health care workers, essential workers such as grocery store workers, in-home support services caregivers, construction workers, utility workers, child care providers, and community members who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus at least three weeks ago. Tests also are available for those identified as their close contacts and are now at risk for exposure to the coronavirus.
Anyone who fits within these categories should call 707-565-4667 to schedule an appointment, as this phase of antibody testing ends Aug. 14, according to Paul Gullixson, spokesman for the county of Sonoma.
Why Is Antibody Testing Important?
"Antibody testing is an important way to learn more about this novel coronavirus–how it spreads in the community and the way in which it impacts people differently. For example, many people who are infected with COVID-19 never experienced symptoms; they nonetheless may have been contagious and unknowingly spread the virus to others. This information will help us conduct contact tracing and reach out to people who may have had close contact with a person who previously was infected, monitor them for symptoms and get them the care they need while protecting others from exposure. In addition, someone may have tested positive for COVID-19, but never developed antibodies.
"The more we learn about the virus, the more we can share and apply this knowledge to reduce the risk of its spread by adopting healthy behaviors such as social distancing, facial covering and hand hygiene until an effective treatment and vaccine are readily available to the public.
"People who have recovered from COVID-19 may be eligible to donate plasma, which is a component of blood. This plasma could be used to treat others with severe disease and boost their ability to fight the virus. Doctors call this 'convalescent' plasma."
Coronavirus in Sonoma County
As of Friday, there were 1,373 active cases of coronavirus in the county, 93 of which were reported within the last 24 hours.
Cumulatively since March, the county has had 2,842 cases of the virus and 32 coronavirus-related deaths, including one death reported within the last 24 hours.
Here's a breakdown of cumulative case numbers by region:
North County: Windsor, North to Cloverdale — 253 cases (9 percent)
South County: Penngrove, Petaluma — 528 cases (19 percent)
East County: Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Sonoma — 243 cases (9 percent)
West County: Guerneville, Sebastopol —96 cases (3 percent)
Central County: Cotati, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa — 1,600 cases (55 percent)
Under Investigation: Region not determined — 168 cases (6 percent)
The county encourages anyone currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to get a diagnostic —viral — test at one of several locations in the county listed on the Sonoma County Emergency Website.