Coronavirus antibody testing starts at Orange County Convention Center after missing blood tubes causes delay

Drive-thru rapid COVID-19 antibody testing for front line workers only

Antibody testing is now underway for the first time in Orange County.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – COVID-19 antibody testing is underway at the Orange County Convention Center after a slight delay due to missing testing equipment, according to a testing site official.

Lauren Luna is a spokesperson for the temporary site at the convention center. She said the first day of antibody testing for frontline workers had a rocky start.

"This is one of those things where you have a plan, you go into play with a plan, and it doesn't quite work out," Luna said.

She said antibody testing was initially delayed because the site did not get a shipment of blood tubes needed to conduct the tests.

"That did not come in. So right now we're working extremely hard to get the item that we're missing in order to do that," Luna said.

A few hours after the testing site opened, Luna said they got the equipment they needed and immediately started testing. She said people who take the antibody test can get their results in minutes.

"Once they process your blood and they run it through the testing it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get that result," she said.

The State of Florida secured 200,000 antibody tests. The convention center site can test 80 people a day.

Right now the tests are only for first responders and healthcare workers to determine if they have been exposed to the virus.

"Just the sheer amount of patient contact that first responders and healthcare workers have had," Luna said. "If they know, that's good information for them just to be aware."

She adds the hope is frontline workers who test positive for the antibodies would donate their plasma to help patients battling the virus.

"They've had a lot of success with treating people with COVID-19 with that plasma donation," Luna said.

Luna said the site also continues to offer free coronavirus testing for citizens. She said they can test up to 750 people a day.

“We encourage you to come out and get tested if you feel you need a test,” she said.

Antibody testing for first responders and healthcare workers begins Saturday morning at the Orange County Convention Center, said health officials on Friday.