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Bismarck pharmacy offering antibody testing in minutes

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When word got out that Mayo Pharmacy had antibody tests, Business Manager Dominick Goettle says demand was high.

“All of a sudden we had a whole bunch of people asking ‘Do you do antibody testing? Do you do antibody testing?’ We quickly found out that that’s a service we can provide to alleviate some of the fear and the wondering that people have,” Goettle said.

The small pharmacy has administered more than 1,000 tests since it started offering the service in late October. The state currently has close to 180,000 tests acquired from CARES Act money, but doesn’t currently have a plan for distribution and data collection — making it a busy time for those at the downtown pharmacy.

“We started doing a fair amount early November, and the interest has sort of continued to rise,” Pharmacist and Owner Kevin Martian said.

The tests can detect antibodies in blood, which presumably offer protection from further infection. But it’s not that simple.

“The data is still in question as far as how protective that is and how long is that good for,” Martian said.

While questions remain about how long that immunity might last, for many, the test offers peace of mind, and only takes a few minutes.

Getting the COVID-19 antibody test is as simple as a finger prick, and results can be back in as soon as 15 minutes. Seth Farstveet got tested Thursday afternoon at the pharmacy.

“Super easy, just walked right in, said ‘I’m here for an antibody test.’ They sat me down, and took maybe five minutes for the whole process and they sent me on my way,” Farstveet said.

He says he’s recently quarantined and tested negative, but still experienced symptoms. Shortly after getting his test, he got a text message he was positive — meaning he has the antibodies.

“I’ll still take all the precautions going forward, but it is nice knowing for me it’s probably not likely and I’m a little safer and the people around me are a little safer, too, which is nice,” Farstveet said.

The pharmacy asks if you do have symptoms, to utilize its curbside testing option before coming inside. The test costs $45, and the pharmacy offers discounts for multiple people in a household who want to get tested.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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