Coronavirus Update #26: Antibody Tests, New Survey and Social Support

Coronavirus Update for the Crown Heights Community from the Gedaliah Society and Dr. Eli Rosen: Important information about antibody testing, new survey and social services.

Medical update:
As per our last update, we are recommending that adults (>20 years old) primarily based in Crown Heights get tested for the presence of antibodies (using reliable tests only). For those that have been in isolation due to their high risk status, we do not recommend they leave isolation for the purpose of testing at this time, due to the risk involved. 

At this point in time, there are at least many hundreds of individuals in Crown Heights with positive antibodies. Preliminarily, approximately 65% of those tested in the two drives were positive for IgG antibodies towards the virus. Please be aware that we only tested those with presumed COVID, and this number of 65% is not necessarily indicative of the community as a whole. 

There is much ongoing research addressing the question of immunity, and we hope that over the next few weeks we will see answers emerging to many of our current questions.  A common sense approach based on virologic principles may be proven wrong by this ongoing research, and therefore anything we currently say is subject to evolve as we learn more.

At this time it would appear that if the antibody test is positive, this means you have had the disease. Additionally for the purposes of knowing whether you had the disease, the well known clinical syndrome will also suffice. Most adults who had COVID and were sick with it, know that they had the virus.

There is a sizable group of people who were sick, and yet don’t have antibodies; whether antibodies will become positive in a few weeks or not remains a question.  In those who only had very mild disease, along with those who may have been asymptomatic, it would appear that antibody response is weaker in this group, and a much less reliable way of knowing whether they had the disease.

A positive antibody test is likely to be associated with at least short term immunity and thus a reduced likelihood of getting reinfected. There is an accompanying assumption that you are likely not infectious to others, but please be aware that we are finding people with antibodies who still have viral particles detectable in their nose; whether these people are infectious or not we do not know.

We are not yet at the point where knowledge of antibody positivity or having had the disease allows us to abandon the principles of social distancing and wearing a mask when in proximity with other people. 
Please continue to socially distance and wear a mask when in proximity with other people. 

New Survey – Please Read!
Information is critical in trying to determine SAFE return to normal. We as a community are on the leading edge of this epidemic, and as such we don’t have much to rely on besides what we can gather from you, and serological studies.

Please – we are asking for ALL members of the community, whether or not you have been tested and whether or not you have been sick, to please fill out the survey below. If you know of those who don’t have access to this survey, please assist them in completing the same so that we can get information. 
COVID/Antibody Survey

Social support services:
The COVID Hotline remains available for all COVID related questions. Please email your question to [email protected] with “Hotline” in the subject line. Alternatively, you can call the hotline number, 212-901-2000, and leave a voicemail and someone will call you back.

The Errand Support program remains available for urgent needs such as medication and the like. Please email [email protected] with “Errand” in the subject line.  Alternatively, you can call the hotline number, 212-901-2000, and leave a voicemail with your request.

The Mental Health program, in partnership with, continues to provide support and counseling. Please call the hotline, 212-901-2000, and follow the prompts to speak with a licensed professional. 

Please – there are many that are isolating alone. If you have friends or family that are isolated or living alone, please check in on them; a simple phone call or other type of help/support can go a long way. 

Wishing everyone best of health, and a speedy refuah shleimah for those that are ill!

– The Gedaliah Society, in conjunction with Dr. Rosen

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