Coronavirus antibody test results for the Cooke County and city of Gainesville first responders have come back.
Out of the 327 employees that received tests, there were no positive COVID-19 cases and one positive result for the IgG antibody. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The IgG antibody test is done rapidly in a medical provider’s office with a few drops of blood.
IgG/IgM rapid tests detect the presence of antibodies that a patient’s body built up in response to past or present infection from the coronavirus.
“Since many local government employees interact regularly with the public, this testing allowed a good sample size to judge the spread in our community,” Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley said via email. “I think with such a large number of antibody tests coming back negative, it shows that the virus likely has not made its way through much of the population of the county.”
Results show up within minutes, according to a previous release from the Cooke County COVID-19 Joint Information Center, which was recently deactivated.
A positive result means one of two things — either someone is either actively infected, or was in the past but is no longer, according to the Monday, June 1, release. A medical provider uses such results along with their own observations to determine an individual patient’s course of action.
First responders with Gainesville police and fire departments, the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Independent School District Police, Cooke County EMS, other local police departments and volunteer fire departments were tested.
Antibody testing was also offered to all other city of Gainesville, Cooke County and city of Muenster employees.
The purpose of the testing was to determine the potential exposure of local first responders in order to gauge possible immunity to the virus and help with education on the degrees of immunity, if any, for the future, according to the release.
“While this is good because it seems like many of the protective measures that most people are taking is working, it also means that a large percentage of the population has not already developed immunity to the virus,” Brinkley said. “A positive IgG result means that the individual had the virus weeks or more ago and is no longer symptomatic. Therefore, no additional steps were required regarding that individual.”
Brinkley said due to the lack of positive COVID-19 tests, there are no further plans right now to offer testing to asymptomatic employees.
Also, Brinkley said positive test results continue to be low compared to many surrounding counties both in total cases and in number of cases per capita.
“The total number of cases each week remains pretty steady,” Brinkley said. “We have seen a few hospitalizations, at least three; however, many people also have no major symptoms.”
As of Tuesday, June 23, there were 30 total positive cases of the coronavirus reported in the county, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Cooke County administrative assistant Cathy Lloyd said the county is not going to post daily active case counts anymore to the county’s pandemic information page on Facebook. As of press time, Lloyd had not provided updated counts.
The county had previously posted a chart showing the number of active coronavirus cases, age and gender of those with active infections and where they are from in the county. Posts also stated whether there were any fatalities.
As of Friday, June 19, the county reported six active cases of the coronavirus and no fatalities.