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Red Cross now testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies

The American Red Cross has implemented testing for COVID-19 antibodies. Test results will be available to donors within seven to 10 days. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity, only exposure to this new coronavirus.

blood test
An April 12, 2018, blood donation is shown in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo by Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio / American Red Cross)

ST. PAUL β€” Starting Monday, June 22, the American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. According to a news release announcing the initiative, the 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 seven to 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.

β€œAs 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, in the release. β€œIf 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.

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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.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions β€” including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff β€” have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

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.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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