COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There are two new locations where anyone in central Ohio who wants to be tested for COVID-19 can do so for free and find out if they have developed antibodies against it.
The sites are a collaboration between PrimaryOne Health, Buckeye Health Plan and its parent company Centene, as well as Quest Labs. They are also part of a national research study that seeks to ensure high-risk racial and ethnic populations are taken care of during the pandemic.
“Historically, areas of the most need, areas in where there is a high percentage of people of color, have limited access to healthcare, and so, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to remove some of those barriers,” said Dr. Jeff Marable with PrimaryOne Health.
Marable was on hand at the Adler Road testing site Thursday, where cars lined up to get tested for COVID-19. Some of those people chose to participate in the research study.
“We think that’s going to play a large role in identifying those individuals 1, who’ve had the disease, and 2, who may offer a solution as we look for a cure and eventually a vaccine for COVID-19,” explained Marable.
Marable said several individuals were tested Tuesday who had results come back as negative for COVID-19, had never developed symptoms to their recollection, and still had antibodies for it. He said they could have contracted the disease, but been asymptomatic.
Marable said a person knowing their situation is extremely important.
“We know that if we are going to come eventually to a cure for this disease, we have to test, and we have to test even more, and we have to increase that capacity,” he said. “This allows us to do just that. So we’re really excited to have this take place and we’re looking forward to a tremendous outcome.”
Testing for COVID-19 and antibodies for it are not the only parts of the study, according to Marable.
“We’re also offering biological markers called genomic studies which hopefully will be able to identify those patients who are at risk based on predisposing factors, such as certain types of diseases like Huntington’s Disease for example, which may make them more susceptible to poorer outcomes,” explained Marable.
This is all still very new with the sites opening to the public just a few days ago. Tuesday, more than 200 people got tested.
“Folks want to know. They just want to know, and this provides them the opportunity to find out,” said Marable, adding that’s a good thing.
“The truth of the matter is what you don’t know can be harmful,” said Marable. “This virus doesn’t care what your background is. This virus will affect any and everyone, and we’ve seen that horrifically, with the number of people who have passed away.”
That is why the organizations wanted to open these particular sites in underserved parts of Columbus because he says they are the ones who need it most.
“When you couple that with many of our patients who are facing transportation issues, food issues, housing issues, they can ill afford to travel to places of distance in order to get their healthcare. So this is another way of going to them and providing the necessary care that they need,” said Marable.
The sites are open to everyone who wants to be tested. You can choose just to have the antibody test done as well, according to Marable.
The sites are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, on a first-come, first-served basis.
The sites are located at at:
PrimaryOne Health – West Broad Street Location
2300 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43204
PrimaryOne Health – Agler Road Location
3433 Agler Road
Columbus, OH 43219