On Friday, August 28 the City of Gulfport offered free COVID-19 antibody testing to all of its employees and Community Emergency Response Team members.
“Our intention is to offer this service to our employees every few weeks,” said Human Resource Officer Shannon Farrell.
Gulfport contracted the company OccuTech, a mobile phlebotomy service out of Tampa, to set up shop at the Gulfport Neighborhood Center, Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Testing was done at the convenience of the employee.
Public Works employee Anton Smith took advantage of the free testing, not once but twice.
“It’s a pretty quick, straightforward process,” said Smith. “I think it’s awesome that it’s available and I think all employees should have this opportunity.”
“OccuTech offers the 15-minute Rapid test,” said Occupational Health Technician Benny Rodriguez. The antibody test is fairly simple, requiring just a finger prick.
“If the test comes back as an active infection, we pull the employee out of the area, quarantine them, and give them the nose swab test to verify if they’re positive for COVID-19,” said Rodriguez. “Otherwise, they wait 15 minutes and find out if they have the antibodies or not.”
OccuTech staff tested 26 City of Gulfport employees and CERT members on Friday and are scheduled to come back in a few weeks.
More on COVID-19 in Gulfport here.