Calvary Baptist Church and GUARDaHEART offer free COVID-19 antibody testing

By Kamala Kirk

From L to R: Pastor Mack Mossett of Calvary Baptist Church; Dr. Douglas Harrington, CEO of GUARDaHEART Foundation
Images courtesy Sheri Determan for Sheri Determan Photography

For the past 100 years, Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica has continued to serve an ever-evolving community and beyond. Recently, the church united with GUARDaHEART Foundation to host a three-day event that offered free COVID-19 antibody testing to the local community and surrounding area. The antibody test informed people whether or not they’d had the infection at some point in the past.

“This event was inspired by an ongoing desire to assist the fight against COVID-19 and the opportunity to provide a needed service in the community,” says Pastor Mack Mossett of Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica. “For our church, ‘community’ is not bound by demographics but is inclusive of all persons. As such, this event brought people from the Santa Monica community as well as various SoCal cities.”

GUARDaHEART Foundation is a nonprofit that provides education to the community, corporations, Native American organizations, unions and individuals to promote heart disease awareness detection and prevention.

“Our mission is to learn, detect and prevent,” says Dr. Douglas S. Harrington, chairman of GUARDaHEART Foundation, who was at the event to educate people on various topics related to COVID-19 and heart disease. “With the ongoing pandemic, we immediately felt called to act and we discovered that many people were having difficulty getting tested. We found that almost all communities needed additional testing resources, so we decided to reach out to the communities to partner with their leaders and community organizers to bring no-cost COVID-19 antibody testing to these areas.”

The COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 serology antibody tests were covered under the CARES Act and were available to anyone in the community whether or not they had insurance, as long as they did not display any symptoms of COVID-19.

The antibody tests provided were one of the most reliable antibody tests available with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 99.6% performance evaluations. They can be used to detect the presence of an IgM and IgG antibody response. A positive result indicates that an individual
has been infected with the COVID-19 pathogen and has developed some level of immunity. This test could be a critical next step in the battle against COVID-19, continuing to flatten the curve and ensure
a safe reopening of the
community.

According to Dr. Harrington, more than 500 people were tested at the event. Since GUARDaHEART Foundation’s first event at Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Mall, they’ve tested nearly 4,000 people and are planning to host similar events in the future.

“People have been very appreciative and complimentary of our events, and they have all been good sports about patiently waiting their turn and respecting social distancing guidelines,” Dr. Harrington says. “We’ve formed some great relationships with the communities we’ve been to so far and some of them have asked us to return for additional events though the first part of 2021.”

Due to the success of the event, Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica plans to hold another event from January 19 to 21 in the same location.

“Because the response was so great and the event ran so smoothly, we are looking forward to holding another event next month,” Pastor Mossett adds.

For more information, visit calvarysantamonica.org and guardaheart.org

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