ALPHARETTA — Antibody tests conducted on Alpharetta’s first responders found that 10 police officers and firefighters tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
The positive antibody tests do not mean the officers currently have an active case of COVID-19, but that they have previously been infected by it.
The 10 employees have subsequently undergone swab testing to determine if they currently have COVID-19, and none tested positive for infection.
“The safety of the public and our employees is always our primary concern, and we follow all of the protocols recommended by public health agencies to help identify employees who are symptomatic of possible COVID-19 infection and remove them from the workplace,” said Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin. “Because some may contract COVID-19 but have very mild or even no symptoms, however, public health officials believe the disease may have infected more people and had a wider spread than is currently known. We decided it was important to provide voluntary antibody testing to our first responders, an employee group that would be at highest risk for exposure to the virus, to better understand how the virus may have spread, learn how effective our protective protocols have been, and help plan for future pandemics.”
In May, the City of Alpharetta became the first municipality in Georgia to provide COVID-19 antibody testing to first responders. The program saw 127 of the City’s 192 police officers and fire fighters voluntarily undergo testing.
The City of Alpharetta’s antibody testing program found that 9 first responders tested positive for antibodies. One additional employee was confirmed to possess antibodies. The employees were notified of the test results and subsequently, underwent swab testing that determined none of them were currently infected with COVID-19.
The data from Alpharetta’s testing program will become part of a global body of data being shared with researchers and public health officials for the purpose of better understanding COVID-19 and developing response plans for future pandemic events.
As of Friday, June 19, Fulton County had 5,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 304 total deaths from the virus.