By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)–San Bernardino County continues to ramp up testing for the coronavirus. These tests are officially referred to as a test for the ‘polymerase chain reaction’ (or PCR tests), and they show whether an individual is currently infected with the virus.
“The expansion of our testing regime is an important milestone in our efforts to battle this pandemic and get our County back to normal,” said Trudy Raymundo, Director of the County Department of Public Health. “However, it’s important to point out that increased testing will almost surely lead to a notable increase in those testing positive. This has less to do with an increase in the incidence of the virus and more a reflection of greater detection.”
In addition, the County is now performing serology testing at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC). Serology testing is used to detect the presence of antibodies in a person’s blood serum (or other tissues), which is evidence that the individual might have been previously infected with a coronavirus, not necessarily COVID-19.
Serology tests are not effective for determining if someone is currently infected with the coronavirus, but they can help epidemiologists and other medical professionals better assess the extent of how the coronavirus is spreading among different populations. It is important data for the County, the nation and the world in our collective fight against the pandemic.
It is also very important for the public to understand that testing positive for the virus antibody does not mean you have immunity to COVID-19.
All testing remains focused on those individuals most at risk of the disease: those showing symptoms, are over age 65, have pre-existing conditions that intensify risk, and public safety workers. Selected individuals being given the PCR test will be asked if they would also agree to a serology test, which involves taking a blood sample via a simple finger prick. Serology tests are only available in conjunction with PCR tests, so appointments cannot be made for serology testing.
At this time, serology testing is only being conducted at ARMC, but it is expected be rolled out to Public Heath testing locations as soon as next week. Those who are given the PCR and serology tests are notified with their results usually within a few days.