VICTORIA -- COVID-19 antibody testing, which can determine if someone has had the virus even if they were not symptomatic, is now underway on B.C.’s Cormorant Island.

Cormorant Island, which is home to the Village of Alert Bay and the Namgis First Nation, suffered an outbreak of COVID-19 in April.

Thirty people tested positive for the virus on the Gulf Island and one woman died amid the outbreak. Alert Bay and the Namgis First Nation declared a local state of emergency on April 18 due to COVID-19.

The local state of emergency has since been lifted and all cases of the virus were resolved by early May.

Now, Cormorant Island has launched local COVID-19 antibody testing, with support from Island Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

The testing will help health officials determine how the virus spread through the community and can detect if someone was infected with COVID-19, even if they did not feel sick at the time.

“Some residents of Cormorant Island may be wondering if they had COVID-19 and didn’t get sick, or if their mild illness was in fact COVID,” said Dr. Dan Cutfeet, a physician at the Cormorant Island Health Centre in a statement Wednesday. 

“This is an exciting opportunity and the information gathered here will give people a deeper understanding about how this virus impacted our island,” he said.

The mayor of Alert Bay, Dennis Buchanan, was one of the first people on the island to test positive for COVID-19.

He is encouraging all residents to take the antibody test to help support the island’s understanding of the virus.

“I would encourage everyone over the age of 12 to get tested, even if they did not feel sick,” said Buchanan in a statement.

“There should be no stigma attached to anyone who had COVID-19. Get tested so that the information can be used to help better understand the way this virus affected people here,” he said.

The antibody testing will take place between June 24 and June 27. Anyone over the age of 12 can voluntarily book an appointment to be tested.

Appointments can be booked by calling Island Health at 1-844-844-2219 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.

Island Health and the BCCDC will be in charge of administering and collecting the voluntary tests. All results will be confidential.