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Red Cross to Test Blood Donations for COVID-19 Antibodies

Samples from donations will be sent to a laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. Test results will be available with seven to 10 days from the Red Cross website or Blood Donor app.

by Amanda Cuda, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport, Conn. / June 15, 2020
After donning personal protective equipment, registered nurse Sarah Neva sanitizes her hands before going in to check on a COVID-19 patient at Bethesda Hospital earlier in May. David Joles/Star Tribune/TNS

(TNS) -- The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, which alert people to whether they have been exposed to the virus.

According to a release sent Monday by the Red Cross, samples from donations will be sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. Test results will be available with seven to 10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the test for emergency use.

“As an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is pleased to provide more information about COVID-19 to our valued donors,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services in the news release. “If you are feeling healthy and well, please schedule an appointment to not only help saves lives but also learn about your potential exposure to COVID-19.”

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.

In the midst of the pandemic, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donations, particularly as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products. However, people who don’t feel well or who think they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone the decision to donation.

Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Anyone who comes to give blood through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.

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.

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©2020 the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.)

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