THOUSAND OAKS – A wide ranging SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) antibody study, led by a diverse public-private partnership in Ventura County, kicks back into high gear again this Monday, November 9, 2020 for a second wave of Countywide testing. Free COVID-19 IgG antibody tests will be offered at more than a dozen sites throughout the county between November 9th- 20th.
Since May 2020 researchers from California Lutheran University, UC Irvine, UCLA, and 11Health, have been collaborating with Ventura County agencies to determine the true prevalence of COVID-19 within the region. This research is in partnership with the Ventura County Healthcare Agency, Oxnard Fire Department, Ventura City Fire Department, and Dignity Health’s St. John’s Hospital and has been made possible through the generous support of the Ventura County Community Foundation, the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County, and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin.
“The partners in this study have come together seamlessly to provide Ventura County residents with a world class antibody study,” said California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. "This extraordinary effort has gone a long way to ensure that local and state officials have actionable data on the spread of COVID-19 in Ventura County.”
IgG antibody tests indicate whether an individual has been exposed to COVID-19 and developed antibodies. A blood sample is taken and later tested at a lab. Testing is free, open to the general public, no appointment is necessary, and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. No I.D. is required, and test results are private and HIPAA compliant. Results will be available to the test participant within 24-48 hours online or by smartphone.
The study is designed to specifically learn: What is the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among the general population of Ventura County? What is the difference in prevalence among segments of the population who are highly exposed or highly vulnerable? How do antibody levels change over time in individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies? And what is the false-positive rate of the specific antibody tests used in the County?
“We are learning more and more about epidemiology of COVID-19 each day," said UCLA Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Hsu. "The true rate of COVID-19 transmission remains poorly understood and is likely to vary from place to place considerably.”
So far, 13,266 COVID-19 antibody tests have been conducted in Ventura County, including more than 7,000 tests which were conducted during the first 2-week County-wide wave of testing in June. Special care has been taken to oversample members of targeted sub-populations which are relatively highly exposed or highly vulnerable to the disease, including:2,620 First Responders, 1,867 Healthcare Workers, 266 Long Term Care Facility residents and staff, 150 Farmworkers, and 61 homeless residents. The study is providing important insights to public health officials and local policy makers for current planning efforts, but the ultimate goal is to provide data that will inform and help tailor responses to any increase in community transmission which results from the re-opening of Ventura County as it continues to progress through California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Matthew Fienup, Director of the Center for Economic Research & Forecasting at California Lutheran University added, "The timing of this second wave of testing is critical. The first wave of testing in June provided a baseline estimate of the prevalence of the disease in Ventura County but occurred prior to the surge of transmission experienced over the summer. Tests results from the next two weeks will provide important information for policy makers as the County moves to re-open elementary schools and as it contemplates a broader re-reopening of businesses."
The testing protocol was developed by the Oxnard Fire Department under the leadership of Assistant Chief Alexander Hamilton. Jaime Villa, Paramedic and EMS Coordinator for the Oxnard Fire Department, is overseeing sample collection and data intake in the field. Abbott SARS-COV-2 IgG tests are being processed by Dignity Health St. John’s Regional Medical Center, with coordination by Assistant Medical Director and Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Todd Larsen. A second antibody test, used for validation purposes, by manufacturer Bio-Rad is being processed by the Ventura County Public Health Laboratory, under the direction of Ventura County Healthcare Agency’s Chief Deputy Director, Barry Zimmerman. Healthcare Agency staff will be leading collection at ten of the sites across the county during the next two weeks.
TESTING SCHEDULE (All sites will be open 9:00am-4:00pm)
Mon, Nov 9 Simi Valley
Santa Susana High School
3570 Cochran St. 93063
Tue, Nov 10 Thousand Oaks
158 N. Conejo School Rd. 91362
Wed, Nov 11 Simi Valley
Foundation Field (West Parking Lot)
5005 E. Los Angeles Ave. 93063
Thu, Nov 12 Moorpark
Moorpark Metrolink Station
300 E. High St. 93021
Fri, Nov 13 Simi Valley
Free Clinic of Simi Valley
2003 Royal Ave. 93065
Mon, Nov 16 Camarillo
Adolfo Camarillo High School
(Lower/Softball Parking Lot)
4660 Mission Oaks Blvd. 93012
Tue, Nov 17 Santa Paula
Harvard Blvd. 93060
Wed, Nov 18 Camarillo
Boys and Girls Club (Parking Lot)
1500 Temple Avenue. 93010
Thu, Nov 19 Ojai (Meiner’s Oaks)
190 E. El Roblar Dr. 93023
Fri, Nov 20 Fillmore
649 C St. 93015
For more information, visit www.VenturaCountyRecovers.org/antibody or call the office of Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: (805) 482-1904.
Assemblymember Irwin’s website: http://asmdc.org/irwin