The American Red Cross has the following upcoming blood drive opportunities in Barrow County:
•1-6 p.m. Friday, June 19 — Perry Rainey Center, 16 College St., Auburn
•7 a.m. to noon June 30 — Winder Community Center, 113 East Athens St.
•9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 7 — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Winder and Fort Yargo Wards, 36 Sims Rd., Winder.
•noon to 6 p.m. July 10 — Winder First United Methodist Church, 280 North Broad St.
•10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 17 — Perry Rainey Center.
Beginning this week and for a limited time, the Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus, according to a news release. At the same time, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products, officials said.
Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 7-10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the release.
“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. “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.
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.
All those who come to give June 1-30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, though some restrictions apply.
To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation, officials said.
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, officials said. 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.