The wealthiest ZIP code in the US has purchased thousands of coronavirus antibody tests. A letter signed by the private island's medical director details the decision to test every resident.

The wealthiest ZIP code in the US has purchased thousands of coronavirus antibody tests. A letter signed by the private island's medical director details the decision to test every resident.
fisher island miami

Katie Warren/Business Insider


Fisher Island.

Fisher Island, a private island off the coast of Miami, Florida, is the richest ZIP code in the US.

The island is home to 800 families and staffed by over 400 workers. Among the many perks of living on the island are access to pristine beaches and golf courses, and now, access to coronavirus antibody testing that's not yet widely available to the public.

According to the Miami Herald, Fisher Island purchased thousands of rapid blood test kits from the University of Miami Health System (UHealth) - enough to test everyone on the island.


As Lisa Worley, a spokesperson for UHealth, told the Herald, "This is what the Fisher Island residents wanted."

An April 7 letter to Fisher Island residents that was viewed by Business Insider and signed by Dr. Elizabeth Greig, medical director of UHealth Fisher Island, details the decision to test all residents. The letter notes that widespread coronavirus antibody testing in the enclave would start that day.

Greig declined to comment when reached by Business Insider and neither confirmed nor denied she had written the letter in question.

The letter opens with an explanation of a recent UHealth and Miami-Dade County partnership: As of April 3, a new program would randomly test 750 people across Miami-Dade County, where the island is located, in an attempt to assess how far the coronavirus has spread.

"The goal here is to find areas of significant spread, and to prioritize resources to potentially disproportionately affected communities," the letter signed by Greig states, referencing the broader Miami-Dade County. But the testing methodology takes on a different approach when it comes to Fisher Island, where the average income is $2.2 million and the median home value is roughly $3 million.


"We have a different role in this public health initiative - to monitor how spread occurs in a nearly contained environment, unlike anywhere else in the world, and to figure out how testing early and often could change the course of this disease," the letter continues. "This is why we are not doing random sampling, but the entire island."

The letter explains that participation is voluntary and goes on to explain the nature of the test itself: "It is performed by doing a fingerstick for a drop of blood, and has a result in about 10 minutes."

The letter goes on to explain the logistics of testing: The plan is to primarily test "those people living and working on the island" - for surveillance purposes - "building by building."

Somewhere between five and nine people on Fisher Island have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Florida's Department of Health coronavirus cases map. There are over 7,400 cases in Miami-Dade County and over 21,000 cases in the state.

In a statement emailed to Business Insider, Worley, the UHealth spokesperson, wrote: "One of the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Miami-Dade County was on Fisher Island, more than half of the population is over 60 and many residents were returning from the Northeast. These factors, at the time, were taken into consideration when the request was received."


The statement noted that the health system is now "revising its process for reviewing testing outreach requests" and is aware that Fisher Island's having obtained the coronavirus antibody tests "may have created the impression that certain communities would receive preferential treatment."

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