Jim Rhodes of Bordentown, N.J., squeezes a stress ball, while donating blood at the Red Cross Blood … [+]
Wondering if you’ve been exposed to the Covid-19 coronavirus? Finding out may be as simple as giving blood.
The American Red Cross is currently testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for Covid-19 antibodies and donors will receive the free results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or by logging in to the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The antibody test, authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, may indicate if a donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus regardless of whether they experienced any symptoms.
It’s important to note that the Red Cross says a positive antibody test does not confirm infection or immunity.
Red Cross officials hope the testing will be an incentive to get people to make appointments to donate blood.
They issued a statement saying, “There is an urgent need for blood donations right now, to meet the needs of patients in hospitals as surgical procedures and treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to COVID-19 resume. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled, as many businesses and community organizations restrict the number of individuals at their locations creating challenges for a stable blood supply. It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled.”
Blood donation safety
If you are concerned about the safety of giving blood during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important to know the safety standards the Red Cross has developed at its donation centers.
Here’s a look at what they have put in place:
· Donors are asked to schedule appointments in advance; walk in donors are discouraged in order to maintain appropriate social distancing.
· Individuals who do not feel well are asked to postpone donating. People should be symptom free for 28 days and feeling well and healthy to donate.
· All donors are required to wear a face covering or mask.
· Staff and donors will have their temperatures checked before entering a blood drive.
· Hand sanitizer will be provided for use before entering and throughout the donation process.
· Social distancing measures will be maintained in the entry, donation and refreshment areas.
· Routine disinfecting of surfaces, equipment and donor touched areas.
· Wearing gloves and changing gloves often.
· Using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation.
How to schedule an appointment
Sign up at RedCrossBlood.org, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or activate the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
It’s recommended that donors complete a RapidPass before arriving for their scheduled appointment. The RapidPass is an online health history questionnaire
Individuals who are 17 years of age or older (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law) may be eligible to donate blood if they weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health.
For the month of June, donors will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card via email.
The Red Cross says it will continue the antibody testing for the next few months.