Hepatitis C antibody test added to roster of tests available at Oct. 5, Oct. 12 blood screenings

BUCKHANNON – The biannual blood screening sponsored by WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital and the newly forming Buckhannon-Upshur Rotary Club is back this weekend, with the first date set for Saturday.

In fact, Tuesday’s meeting of the new club in Chapel Hill UM Church’s Engle Hall focused almost solely on completing plans for the upcoming blood screening, which has been a longtime community service project of the hospital in partnership with the former Buckhannon Rotary Club and now the newly forming Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur.

Folks can get basic and optional blood testing for very reduced rates. Proceeds from this event will also benefit the community via other community service projects performed by the Rotary Club.

Blood screenings will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 12 from 6:30 to 10 a.m. at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Community Care (formerly the Tri-County Health Clinic) in Rock Cave.

In addition, blood screenings will also be offered for West Virginia Wesleyan College staff members from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 and for seniors at the Upshur County Senior Center from 6:45 to 9:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11.

At each location, basic blood profile testing is offered for $35 and includes tests for albumin, ALP, ALT, AST, bilirubin, BUN, calcium, complete blood count, chloride, cholesterol, CO2, creatinine, glucose, HDL or good cholesterol, iron, LDL or bad cholesterol, potassium, sodium, total protein, triglycerides and uric acid.

Optional testing is also available for additional costs. That includes TSH or thyroid testing for $5; a colon cancer screening for $5; a hemoglobin A1C test for diabetics for $15; a PSA test for prostate cancer for men only for $20; and, new this year, a hepatitis C antibody test for $20.

An important note: Participants may only have optional tests if they first have the basic blood profile completed.

Rotary member Lisa Wharton, also the vice president of marketing, public relations and Foundation for St. Joseph’s Hospital, said this year, residents may opt to get screened for the Hepatitis C antibody.

“We will be offering the same basic blood profile we have always done,” Wharton said. “It is $35 which is a considerable savings. There have been stories of people having these screenings, and they found something and went to their doctors and caught something early before it became much worse.”

Wharton said this year, they added the hepatitis C test because it is so important. Hepatitis C antibody tests indicate whether someone has been infected by Hep C.

“The reason we did not add it before, from what I understand, is that there was no prior treatment,” she said. “Now there is a treatment. So, now it is important for folks to get tested.”

Lisa Wharton, vice president of marketing and public relations at St. Joseph’s Hospital, explains that an optional testing for Hepatitis C has been added to the upcoming blood screenings. This test is recommended for people born between 1945 and 1965, and has been added because there is finally treatment for Hepatitis C.

She said the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who were born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for this.

“If you do get this test, it will not show up on your MyWVUChart, but will be mailed to your home because of privacy concerns,” Wharton said.

No appointments are necessary for the blood screening events. However, organizers ask that folks participating remember they must fast for 12 hours prior to the testing. Payment may be made by cash or personal check only – no debit or credit cards will be accepted – and the test results may be viewed online at MyWVUChart or they can be mailed to the participant’s home address.

During the meeting, St. Joseph’s Hospital WVU Medicine officials also reminded attendees the hospital is offering a drive-by flu clinic on Friday, Oct. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. They said the beauty of the clinic is its convenience – simply drive up to St. Joseph’s Hospital at 1 Amalia Drive in Buckhannon, fill out a consent form and receive your flu shot without leaving your car.

The drive-by flu clinic is for anyone 12 years or older and is free to those who have a Medicare Card and only costs $30 for all others. This year, the quadrivalent flu vaccine covers four strands of flu – Influenza H1N1, H3N2 and the two distinct strains of Type B.

The flu vaccine will also be available at B-UMS during the Blood Screening event and is free to those with a Medicare Card and $30 for all others.

Anyone with questions about the blood screenings, optional blood testing or the flu clinics should call St. Joseph’s Hospital WVU Medicine at 304-473-2138.

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