BROOKLINE — Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Public Health Dr. Swannie Jett announce that the Town of Brookline will conduct COVID-19 antibody testing on a limited group of randomly selected residents next week.
Through a partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and Fallon Ambulance, the Town of Brookline will test a total of 600 individuals — 200 of the town’s first responders and essential workers, plus 400 residents — to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among the group.
Residents have been randomly selected to participate in the testing program and will be notified via mail of their selection. The selection process was conducted using randomized town census data.
Antibody testing helps to identify how widespread the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread undetected within the community, and can clarify for public health and medical professionals how many people have contracted the virus without developing symptoms of COVID-19.
First responders and essential workers employed by the Town of Brookline will be tested on Monday, May 11, and residents who have been notified and invited to take part in this voluntary program will be tested on throughout the day on Friday, May 15, at Larz Anderson Park.
Residents who have not been contacted by the Department of Public Health will not be tested, as the availability of antibody tests is extremely limited. The testing is meant only for those who are asymptomatic, and who have never displayed symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss of taste or smell and a sore throat, among other possible symptoms. Click here for a full list of known symptoms of COVID-19.
“Having a sample size level understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among residents and first responders is a critical step in building our understanding of the true size and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Jett said. “I’m grateful for our partners at Massachusetts General Hospital for facilitating this work, and am hopeful it will shed further light on the true extent of impact this virus has had on our community.”
The antibody testing will be conducted by trained professionals using a finger stick test, which collects a small amount of blood that will subsequently be analyzed by MGH staff on-site. Residents will be notified of their results. Invited residents who elect to participate should bring with them the completed consent form, which will be enclosed in the letter they receive informing them that they have been selected to take part.
The testing event is a drive-through event, and residents invited to take part should remember to wear face coverings.