Red Cross blood donors have new opportunity to help patients fighting COVID-19

Plasma from whole blood and platelet donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now to help ensure coronavirus patients and others who depend on transfusions have needed blood products this fall.

In April, the Red Cross began collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma from previously diagnosed individuals, who could only give at one of approximately 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country. Convalescent plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that may help the most critical patients actively fighting this virus. Now, whole blood and platelet donations made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center could be helpful in this effort.

“Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the plasma from those donations for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.”

The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to schedule an appointment, download the free Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In thanks, the Red Cross is offering a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card to five lucky winners who come to give in October. Terms and conditions apply; visit rcblood.org/unite. Additionally, those who come to give by the end of September will receive a free haircut coupon by email to participating Sport Clips Haircuts locations. More information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/Sport-Clips.

About antibody testing
Antibody testing may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual experienced COVID-19 symptoms. Donations are tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing.

COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.

Important COVID-19 information for donors
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities, Sept. 23-Oct. 15:
Arthur County

Arthur
10/14/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Arthur County Fairgrounds, 105 S Highway 61

Chase County
Imperial
9/24/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Imperial City Gym, 740 Court St

Deuel County
Chappell
9/29/2020: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Chappell Fire Hall, 1650 2nd Street

Frontier County
Curtis
10/14/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Curtis Community Bulding, 201 Garlick Avenue

Furnas County
Arapahoe
10/19/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Ella Missing Community Building, 411 6th Street

Cambridge
9/23/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Community Building, 722 Patterson St

Hitchcock County
Stratton
10/2/2020: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Church, 410 County Ave

Keith County
Ogallala
10/15/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Ogallala High School, 6th and East G Street

Lincoln County
Hershey
10/6/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Hershey High School, 301 South Lincoln

North Platte
10/1/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Valley Christian Church, 2001 W. State Farm Road
10/7/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Eagles Club, 620 N Chestnut
10/9/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., North Platte Community Playhouse Fox Theater, 301 E 5t

Logan County
Stapleton
9/23/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Village Hall, 236 Main Street

Red Willow
Indianola
10/6/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., St. Catherine’s Hall, 124 Park Avenue

McCook
10/2/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Anytime Fitness, 204 Norris Ave
10/8/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Ed Thomas YMCA, 901 West E St
10/8/2020: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., McCook College Student Union, 1202 East 3rd

 

About blood donation
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.