SAN JOSE (KPIX) – A San Jose fitness studio may have shut its door to its clients when the stay at home order went into effect, but the owners found themselves in a unique position to open back up earlier this week and join in the fight against the pandemic.
The founders of Red Dot Fitness, located on The Alameda, is now offering testing for antibodies of COVID-19.
“We’re really trying to help the community the best we can so this is just a service we’re able to provide that not a lot of places can,” said Red Dot Fitness CEO Scott Howell.
The studio, which typically offers personal training sessions and fitness classes, began testing for COVID-19 antibodies on Thursday. Among the questions that people have for them about the testing is how they got involved in it in the first place.
Howell and Red Dot Fitness President CeCe English said that this is actually not uncharted territory for them. The studio has, for years, offered its clients diagnostic blood panels, such as hormone, thyroid and food sensitivity testing.
Howell said they’ve had a long, running relationship with San Carlos biotechnology company Vibrant America, which is conducting the antibody testing, and that opened the door for them to help with testing the community.
“Because we’re already a provider, we had access immediately,” said Howell. “It was really kind of, ‘Hey, we have this,’ and we said, ‘Then we want it.'”
The test involves a blood draw, which is done by a phlebotomist in a room inside the gym.
Fay Hernandez, a Red Dot Fitness member, said she saw that the studio was conducting antibody tests and signed up right away. She said she and her partner were sick in February with what they believed was the flu, but they’ve always wondered if it was really COVID-19.
“I just felt really lethargic, really tired,” Hernandez said. “She was sick, then she got a little better, than she got really sick.”
Hernandez is expected to get her results in two to three days.
“I want to continue to shelter-in-place, I think it will, however, bring my anxiety level down, she said. “Peace of mind when I’m running errands, and probably volunteer more to run errands for family and friends, if it does come back positive.”
“I think it’s also peace of mind for a lot of people,” said English. “A lot of people have come to us saying that they think they’ve already had it, that they’ve been exposed.”
The test costs $225, and cannot be given to a person who has symptoms. Vibrant America states on its web site that the test has been validated, but the Food and Drug Administration’s independent review on the validation is still pending.
Howell said they don’t make any money from the tests, but that it’s not about profit.
“It’s giving back to the community and to science,” he said. “There’s so much that needs to be learned still about this.”