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Blood donations needed

The American Red Cross needs people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a blood supply as diverse as the patients who depend on it, according to a press release.

For a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be difficult. While the vast majority of people have types A, B, O or AB blood, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of a diverse patient population. Patients who require frequent blood transfusions as part of their treatment, like those with sickle cell disease or other lifelong blood disorders, often need close blood type matches to prevent complications from their transfusion therapy.

All blood types are needed to ensure that the right blood product is available at the right time for all patients.

Make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood drives are also essential in helping ensure blood is available for patients this winter. To learn more and sign up to host a blood drive this fall or winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive. 

Additional blood donation opportunities in the Tribune’s coverage area:

• Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at Hollandale Christian Reformed Church, 102 Amsterdam Ave. E. in Hollandale

• 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at United Methodist Church, 702 Highway 69 S. in Albert Lea

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 24 at Riverland Community College, 2200 Riverland Drive in Albert Lea

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Albert Lea Family Y, 2021 W. Main St. in Albert Lea

• 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Sept. 28 at the Wells American Legion, 145 W. Franklin in Wells

• 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 S. Washington Ave. in Albert Lea.

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 they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.