Plasma from whole blood 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 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 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 percent 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, by visiting its Web site at RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions.

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.

What follows is a list of upcoming area blood drives:

• In Morton, Oct. 2 from 1-7 p.m. at the Morton fire station

• In Olivia, Oct. 5 from 12-6 p.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church

• In Olivia, Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at BOLD High School

• In Walnut Grove, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the community center

• In Wabasso, Oct. 14 from 1-7 p.m. at the community center

All blood types are needed in order to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

– Image courtesy of the American Red Cross Web site