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Red Cross blood donors Can Help patients fighting COVID-19

09.29.20

American Red Cross blood donors have a new opportunity to help patients battling this coronavirus. The plasma from whole blood donations made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusion.

Previously, convalescent plasma could only be obtained through a special donation at one of more than 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country, but on Sept. 21, the Red Cross began secondary testing of all donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies to confirm test results for donors. This means the COVID-19 antibody-positive plasma from whole blood donations may now be used for coronavirus patients.

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.

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. 

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.

Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross



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