Red Cross offering COVID-19 antibody test

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

If you’re wondering if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, but never experienced symptoms or had a diagnostic test, the American Red Cross can help.

As of June 15, each donation of blood, platelets or plasma given to the Red Cross Blood Services will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, and donors will be able to see the results of the test on the Red Cross’ online portal.

The antibody test is not a diagnostic test and will not detect a current COVID-19 infection. Instead, the test finds antibodies against the disease in the bloodstream that the immune system forms during an active infection.

“We do not want people coming to donate blood if they are showing symptoms or not feeling well,” said Theo Boots, executive director of the Southwest Chapter of the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross, which covers Dubois County.

Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

The antibody test was added to a list of several routine infectious disease tests that the Red Cross conducts on blood donations. A positive result does not limit use of the donation. In fact, donors who receive a positive antibody test can then apply to have their donation used in convalescent care for patients battling an active COVID-19 infection.

“That would be over and above,” Boots said. “[The donation] would not automatically go to that.”

The Red Cross is currently experiencing a critical need for blood donation, Boots said. When COVID-19 hit in March, many blood drives were canceled, which caused a severe shortage. The Red Cross was able to reschedule many of the canceled drives to larger venues where social distancing could be followed, Boots said, and the postponement of nonessential medical procedures helped stabilize the supply. Now, however, nonessential medical procedures are back on schedule, and there is a critical need for donated blood.

To donate, visit redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment at an upcoming blood drive. The Red Cross is asking donors to make an appointment to ensure social-distancing guidelines can be followed.


July Blood Drives in Dubois County

• Tuesday, July 7, from 2 to 7 p.m. at St. Mary Church of Ireland

• Thursday, July 9, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Celestine Community Club

• Monday, July 13, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Jasper Moose Lodge

• Tuesday, July 14, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Huntingburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post

• Tuesday, July 14, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Holland United Methodist Church

• Tuesday, July 21, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Jasper American Legion Hall

• Tuesday, July 28, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Sultan’s Run Golf Course in Jasper




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