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Red Cross Offers COVID-19 Antibody Tests After Donating Blood

Ross D. Franklin
The Red Cross is now offering antibody testing when someone donates blood.

The American Red Cross has a new way to encourage blood donation: Anyone who donates also will be tested to see if they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

The Red Cross on Monday began testing donors for COVID-19 antibodies in the hope that more people would offer to donate. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

Red Cross officials say donation is especially important now that hospitals are starting to resume surgeries and other treatments that require blood.

“We are in partnership with the FDA, and we are helping the FDA put a little bit more research behind where the coronavirus has had outbreaks,” said Red Cross spokesperson Laura McGuire.

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.

Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling (800) RED CROSS. Because of the coronavirus, you must set up an appointment first to help keep people safe. McGuire said that upon arrival to the appointment, you will have to do a temperature check as well as answer a few questions to see if there is a possibility that you have come into contact with COVID-19.

“If you know that you could have been exposed to the coronavirus, wait 28 days… we do not want sick people coming into our blood drives and obviously exposing others,” said McGuire.

The Red Cross does ask that if you are feeling symptoms or ill to try to reschedule your appointment.

Five to seven days after donating, you can find your results on the Red Cross website after registering. If you do test positive for the antibodies, the Red Cross also is looking for plasma donations. Plasma donations can help people who are currently suffering from the coronavirus.

“Somebody needs blood every two seconds, and you just never know when the need for blood, if it’s an accident, or a surgery, or an emergency, and we at the Red Cross always want blood available,” McGuire said.

If you donate before June 30, Amazon will send you a $5 gift card via email, too.

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