New Castle County offers coronavirus testing for firefighters

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New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced that under a  partnership with LabCorp, New Castle County’s firefighters will undergo COVID-19 testing.

New Castle County will also provide digital thermometer scanners.

“Firefighters and EMTs keep us safe, so we need to keep them safe,” Meyer said. “We thank LabCorp for their partnership as we make this invisible enemy more visible and our community safer.”

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“LabCorp has a long history of serving the clinical laboratory testing needs of Delaware citizens,” Carl Epple, vice president managing executive at LabCorp, said. “We are especially honored to assist the first responders of New Castle County, and we look forward to helping New Castle County’s critical frontline responders and the State of Delaware in their return to work strategies.”

Delaware is stepping up coronavirus testing as stores, restaaurants and employment sites begin to reopen.

The following dates/times/locations marked the  initial round of COVID-19 viral testing for fire service responders in New Castle County:

  • Monday, May 18 at Talleyville Fire Hall (includes Talleyville, Claymont and Brandywine Hundred Fire Companies).
  • Tuesday, May 19 at Volunteer Hose Company (includes Middletown, Townsend, Odessa, and Port Penn Fire Companies).
  • Wednesday, May 20 at Cranston Heights Fire Company (includes Cranston Heights, Elsmere, Five Points, Hockessin, Belvedere, Newport, and Mill Creek).
  • Thursday, May 21 at Goodwill Fire Company (includes Minquadale, Holloway Terrace, Goodwill of New Castle, Wilmington Manor, and Delaware City Fire Companies).
  • Friday, May 22 at Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder (includes Newark and Christiana Fire Companies).

The fire chief of each company will provide an estimated number of responders to be tested each day. NCC has suggested guidelines to the fire chiefs that responders tested should include anyone in-field response since April 1.  It is at the fire chief’s discretion as to who is tested. If for some reason a responder cannot attend on their fire companies designated day/time they may be tested on another day or at another location.

The firefighters will self-collect their specimen using a kit provided by LabCorp. Each responder will receive a separately packaged self-collection kit. To access their result, responders fill out a contact form and set up a free LabCorp Patient™ account if they don’t already have one. Once the test is performed, each responder’s test results will be delivered to their LabCorp Patient™ account, which is accessible online or through the mobile app. All results will be forwarded to Dr. Michael Bass, the medical control physician who is overseeing the testing for the county. Dr. Bass will contact any responder with a positive result along with the Delaware Department of Public Health.

“Increasing testing volume for first responders is paramount in our fight against COVID-19 and key to getting back to our normal lives,”  Bass said. “On average, these dedicated public servants are in the younger demographic and are therefore more likely to have mild or no COVID-19 symptoms. Identification and quarantining are the best ways to keep the first responders and their families safe, as well as the general public. They put their lives on the line for us daily, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this initiative to give back.”

The testing will be on a bi-weekly basis for at least the next 60 days. Antibody testing is currently being explored and may be available at later testing sessions. Antibody testing, which can determine if somebody was previously exposed to or infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and has now recovered, is available throughout Delaware for asymptomatic patients.

Antibody testing can be accessed through a doctor, telemedicine program, some employee wellness plans, or directly through LabCorp.com. Once a doctor’s order for the IgG antibody has been placed with LabCorp, the IgG antibody blood test can be collected at any of LabCorp’s convenient patient service centers.

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