They are now testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. and those who test positive can help struggling coronavirus patients.
“The other thing we are hoping for is that those who test positive will consider donating convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is a treatment that doctors are using to treat COVID-19 patients right now,” said Christy Peters with the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross started collecting convalescent plasma from recovered patients back in April at select donation centers. Now, any blood donation made at any blood drive or donation center can make a difference.
“If that secondary test comes back positive, that means we can use your normal blood donation to provide convalescent plasma to a patient in need,” said Peters.
Ron Baumberger of Painesville Township donated his plasma after he recovered from COVID-19 back in May.
“It’s something we can do to help someone else. Donating blood is pretty effortless. It’s like getting your haircut. You are in a chair and someone else is doing the work for you,” said Baumberger.
Baumberger says donating blood can also give people peace of mind.
His wife Elinor got sick back in January.
“She wanted to give blood to see if she tested positive for the antibodies. And she was positive,” said Baumberger.
Results are typically available in one to two weeks.
The Red Cross adds that the antibodies test is not a diagnostic one that would confirm infection or immunity.
“We’ve seen our numbers to be consistent with the national average of two percent testing positive,” said Peters.
And now, donors can track their blood and convalescent plasma donations through the American Red Cross app.
“I just found out in the last couple days that my plasma was used on a patient in Beckley, West Virginia,” said Baumberger.
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