By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Buchanan County is allocating $250,000 in federal funds to conduct a massive anti-body testing of county residents to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
The county is partnering with Mosaic Life Care in the hopes of testing as many as 2,500 residents.
Mosaic CEO Dr. Mark Laney says the St. Joseph hospital has been able to handle the number of coronavirus cases coming its way.
“On any given day, right now, there’s probably 200 to 225 patients in the hospital that don’t have COVID,” Laney tells reporters in a Monday news conference. “Recently, we’ve had 10 patients, but it’s actually dwindled down, I think we had six this morning and none in the ICU.”
Mosaic and county officials hope the testing gives health officials a better understanding of the spread of COVID-19 in the area, which could lead to better strategies to combat the virus.
Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner Lee Sawyer says the county will allocate funds forwarded to the county from state officials. The money comes from the CARES Act approved by Congress to respond to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as fund various local responses to COVID-19.
“Buchanan County is very excited to help to fund this process as part of this CARES Act funding which came through the state actually from the federal government, through the state, and we have been working very closely with the state on just how we can spend this money to best impact, to keep our county healthy and safe,” Sawyer says.
Laney says anti-body testing isn’t done to determine treatment.
“It’s more of an answer relative to the public health,” Laney says. “What degree of herd immunity do we as a county have, if any?”
Testing through the drawing of blood will begin next week on the Mosaic St. Joseph campus. Those interested can sign up through the Mosaic web site. Registration is set to begin on Tuesday, July 28th, at www.MyMLC.com/testing.
“This testing is only going to be available to individuals 12 years of age and above and we will not be doing testing on individuals that have previously tested positive on the nasal swab, PCR test,” Laney says.
As of Monday, Mosaic had tested 17,324 area residents with 803 testing positive for COVID-19. Mosaic says six patients are currently being treated at the St. Joseph hospital.