What you should know about antibody testing for COVID-19
COVID-19 antibody testing has become available in the Coachella Valley thanks to a partnership with the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation. Borrego Health, Desert AIDS Project (DAP), and Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo are able to perform antibody testing for patients and the Coachella Valley community at large.
Antibody testing is reserved for Coachella Valley residents. We encourage you to contact your primary care provider for available testing resources prior to scheduling an appointment with Borrego Health. Everyone wishing to be tested will be assessed to verify if they fit the criteria for antibody testing.
Here are some FAQs (frequently asked questions) that may be helpful to you:
What is antibody testing? Antibody tests check your blood for antibodies, which have the potential of telling us if you have had an infection or exposure with the virus that causes COVID-19 in the past. Antibody testing, however, cannot tell us if you currently have COVID-19 and as such cannot be used to diagnose persons with COVID-19 or to clear someone to return to work.
How is this test performed? The tests available with Borrego Health (Coachella Valley region) involve a finger stick where a sample of blood is placed onto the testing cartridge. The test itself is non-invasive and minimally painful.
Who can get an antibody test? Antibody testing is not for everyone. In order to determine if a patient meets the criteria for an antibody test, they must first speak to a provider. Questions will be asked and assessed along with the patient’s medical and social history to determine if they should get an antibody test or a PCR test.
What is the difference between an antibody test and a PCR test? An antibody test checks for past infection whereas a PCR test checks for an active viral infection. Depending on when you believe you were exposed, had symptoms, and other criteria, an antibody test may not be the best option. That is why it is best to first be evaluated by a provider to determine which test is best for you.
When and where can I get the antibody test? Testing is reserved for Coachella Valley residents. Currently, the antibody test is only available at our clinics within the Coachella Valley region, which include Centro Medico Oasis, Centro Medico Coachella, Martha’s Village Clinic, Centro Medico Cathedral City, Stonewall Medical Center, and Desert Hot Springs Community Health Center. Call one of these clinics to schedule your provider visit and your testing appointment.
In addition to testing being available at our clinics, Borrego Health established a drive-through testing site at 85365 Dillon Rd., Coachella 92236. Please note change in testing hours for this location: Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, from 6:30am to 9:30am. Starting on Friday, June 19, testing at this location will only be available on Fridays, from 6:30 to 9:30 through the end of June.
To make an appointment, please call: (833) 624-1097. Go to borregohealth.org/Covid19-testing for additional information on testing availability. (TESTING is also available through Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo and the Desert AIDS Project. See the full list of testing sites here.)
What does the test cost? There is no out-of-pocket cost for the antibody test. The provider visit is like any other visit where you get labs ordered, so your insurance will be needed at time of scheduling. If you do not have insurance, we have our sliding fee scale and other programs available to assist you in seeing your provider.