Red Cross now testing donor blood for COVID-19 antibodies

Local News

Blood donors will now learn more than their blood type after the Red Cross rolled out new testing Monday that will check for COVID-19 antibodies.

The free tests will let every donor know if they have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus. Executive Director said the Red Cross hopes the new tests will help increase donations. The donation process will look exactly the same. In fact, donated blood already undergoes about a dozen tests before it is used.

“We are adding one more test to a series of tests for infectious diseases we would normally be providing or testing for,” Mazuzan said. “So this is just another step.”

Donors can expect to hear results within 7-10 days after they give. Mazuzan says any blood, platelets, or plasma that reveal COVID-19 antibodies won’t end up being used for treatment.

“If the test comes back positive, it will be discarded and unable to be used,” he said.

The Red Cross will report the number of positive tests to state and federal health agencies, but names and other personal information are not included with the numbers. Mazuzan says the need for blood is growing, as most area hospitals have resumed elective surgeries and other non urgent procedures that require blood.

“There’s also people out on the road and unfortunately there will be car accidents and people will need that lifesaving blood as a trauma patient,” he said. “So the need is great.”

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