Health officials will visit randomly selected residents in DeKalb and Fulton counties April 28-May 4 to perform voluntary blood tests to see if they have already been infected with the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The tests will help officials understand how widely the COVID-19 pandemic has spread.

The antibody testing will be conducted by teams from the Georgia Department of Public Health in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the DeKalb and Fulton boards of health.

“We encourage everyone who is visited by the teams to participate in this very important survey that can help public health officials assess how widespread COVID-19 is in certain areas,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey in a press release announcing the testing. “This is another way that Georgians can play a role in helping fight this virus.”

The teams will visit “randomly selected homes in different areas of Fulton and DeKalb counties,” according to the press release. Participation is voluntary. No one else will be allowed to be tested. The testing teams will wear CDC vests and CDC badges, and will have an “official letter” from the CDC and DPH.

Household members will be asked to answer survey questions and provide a blood sample to be tested for antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are produced when someone has previously been infected with COVID-19.

According to DPH, the test cannot determine if a person has an active COVID-19 infection at the time the sample is taken. The antibodies typically take one to three weeks to develop. The antibody test can help identify people who were infected but didn’t have symptoms or weren’t tested for COVID-19.

DeKalb and Fulton were chosen because community transmission of confirmed COVID-19 cases is occuring there.

For more information about the serosurvey, see the DPH website at dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-antibody-testing.

For general information about antibody testing, also known as serology testing, see the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/serology-testing.html.