Record-breaking cold and winter storms across much of the U.S. have had a significant impact on blood and platelet donations. The American Red Cross is urging healthy individuals, especially those with type O blood, to give now to ensure blood products are available for patient emergencies when help can’t wait.
Extreme winter weather and storms forced the cancellation of hundreds of Red Cross blood drives in about 30 states. This caused more than 15,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.
Every day thousands of patients rely on lifesaving blood donations. The need for blood is constant, even during storms and the COVID-19 pandemic. Donors can download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Tina Rocco knows firsthand how important it is to have blood on hospital shelves. After welcoming baby Gemma by cesarean section, she began hemorrhaging badly and was
rushed back into the operating room.
“I was later told it was several pints of blood and an amazing doctor that saved my life,” Rocco said. “That allowed me to hold my first daughter and go home all together as a family of three.”
Before that day, Rocco hadn’t known anyone who needed blood transfusions. Now, this grateful mother said, “You truly never know when you, or someone you love, might need it.”
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies. It may also help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors. The plasma has antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for high levels of COVID-19 antibodies may help COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 1-2 weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, 2021-APL-NA referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. Additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive. Donors must wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Information courtesy American Red Cross.