Red Cross urges blood donation to maintain supply amid pandemic

PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER

The American Red Cross typically has a tough time keeping the blood supply strong during the winter months when inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can impact donors, according to provided information.

This year, the pandemic adds in another challenge in keeping the blood supply strong.

The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets this month.

 

Upcoming blood drives in Somerset County include:

  • Feb. 2, 2-7 p.m., Somerville YMCA, 2 Green St., Somerville
  • Feb. 2, 2:30-7:30 p.m., VFW Post 2290, 600 Washington Ave., Manville
  • Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., St. James Roman Catholic Church, 184 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge
  • Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Otto Kaufman Community Center, 356 Skillman Road, Skillman
  • Feb. 10, 1-6 p.m., Somerset Hills YMCA, 140 Mount Airy Road, Basking Ridge

 

 

As a thank you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give blood this February will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.

Make an appointment to give blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross by downloading the Red Cross 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.

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions, according to the statement. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients.

 

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

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation, according to the statement

 

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, according to the statement. 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.

 

Download the American Red Cross 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 to make an appointment or for more information.

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.

 

For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit Twitter at @RedCross.