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Northwell opening two free antibody testing centers in Town of Hempstead

Northwell Health's antibody testing centers in Uniondale and

Northwell Health's antibody testing centers in Uniondale and East Meadow will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting next week. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Northwell Health on Friday said it will set up free antibody testing centers at two locations in Hempstead next week.

The largest health system in the state will open the centers at Kingdom Family Ministry at 306 Uniondale Ave. in Uniondale and in the parking lot at 2000 Hempstead Tpke. in East Meadow.

The centers will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The locations are being coordinated weekly with the Town of Hempstead, which is paying for the project through federal CARES Act money.

Northwell since May has partnered with more than 70 faith-based organizations in the metropolitan area. It is currently focusing on antibody testing in Hempstead, said Dr. Deb Salas-Lopez, senior vice president of community and populations health at Northwell.

She said Hempstead was one of the harder-hit towns in the region, and the focus is on underserved communities within the municipality.

"The prevalence of COVID-19 is very low at the moment, so it’s not as helpful to run the PCR tests," which tells a patient if they’re infected with the virus at the moment, Salas-Lopez said. "The antibody test allows people to know if they have already had the virus, and if they have, they probably have some immunity for the foreseeable future."

Salas-Lopez added that some residents want to return to work, and knowing they’re carrying the antibody will put their mind at ease. She said about 350 to 500 people are being tested weekly at more popular locations.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin earlier this week called the program with Northwell Health a "success" and said "we are already in talks to expand the program to include COVID-19 diagnostic testing at locations in the Town of Hempstead. We hope to have an announcement in the near future."

The tests are available to Town of Hempstead residents only. Residents are encouraged to register ahead of time by calling 516-821-2500. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Separately, CVS Pharmacy said it was expanding its COVID-19 testing to 19 more New York locations, including four on Long Island. CVS said it has opened testing sites in Baldwin, Bethpage, Lynbrook and Oceanside.

CVS spokeswoman Tara Burke said while the pharmacy chain takes insurance information, "Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act approved by Congress, patients should not have any out-of-pocket costs with their insurance. Uninsured patients will be covered under a program funded by the Department of Health and Human Services."